Do It Yourself SEO

October 5, 2010

How can you get your website or blog listed in the top rankings of popular search engines like Google or Bing?

You can pay someone to do it for you, or do it yourself!

Here are some tips for increasing your search listings.

  • Keyword Research – What are your potential customers searching for to find businesses like yours? Go to http://www.adwords.google.com and type in the website for one of your competitors to get a detailed listing of search terms that people are using to land on their site.
  • Use Keywords in your file names. When building your website, name each file and page specific keyword names. For example, instead of naming your “Links” page links.html, name it links-computer-repair-in-salt-lake-city.html. Don’t use spaces in the names.
  • Make sure your content matches the optimal keyword searches for your business. Content is king. Write new content often and make sure the top keyword search text is included. Search engines are constantly scanning websites, so new content is important.
  • Get linked. Having other websites link to your website is very useful for improving SEO. Submit your website to the popular site DMOZ (www.dmoz.org). It may take some time. Just make sure you list your website in the correct category.
  • Social Media is on the upswing. Facebook and Twitter posts are starting to show up in search engine results. Make sure you use optimal keywords in your social media.

Most of these tips are fairly easy to perform, but can be time consuming.  It may be a better choice to use an SEO company if time is an issue.

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To Firewall or Not To Firewall….

September 14, 2010

If you have ever installed a fully featured Antivirus program, or another security program, you may of been presented with an option to install a firewall, thereby disabling the standard firewall built into Windows.

What is a firewall, and should we keep the Windows firewall, or use the 3rd party software firewall?

A firewall is a hardware of software application that blocks unauthorized access to a computer or network.  It also lets the right kind of access in or out, meaning you can still access the internet and applications you need.

For most small businesses and home users, a software firewall application is suitable.  For larger networks, or high security, a robust hardware solution may be the answer.

There are arguments for using or not using the built in firewall in Windows.

  • FOR – The windows firewall is automatically configured and turned on by default.  You don’t have to do anything to start it up.
  • AGAINST – Microsoft Windows is a huge target for hackers.  They are always looking for ways to find ways into the system.  It may be harder to attack a system with another software firewall running.
  • FOR – If you have a hardware firewall application, or the firewall setup on your router, it does not hurt to keep the Windows Firewall running on your individual computers.
  • AGAINST – A company that specifically makes security software is focused on the purpose of security.  A 3rd party firewall application typically provides greater protection, though it does require more interaction and configuration.

Whatever your decision is, having a firewall running on your computer(s) is a good idea.  There are thousands of viruses, worms, and other threats floating around in cyberspace.


A Brief History of the Internet

September 7, 2010

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Did you know that the technology behind the internet today started in the 60’s?  Several colleges, as well as the armed services, began exploring ways to share information in a much broader scale than just being confined to one physical location.

Universities like Stamford, MIT and UCLA, as well as private companies all worked together to develop the packet sharing network protocol that still used today.  By 1982, the idea of a global network of information was becoming more of a reality than a pipe dream.

As the technology improved, Internet Service Providers were formed to open up the internet to homes all over the world.  Western cultures quickly adopted the instant communication tool known as e-mail and the World Wide Web.

Even with the dot.com bubble burst, the technology improved and commerce greatly increased using the internet.  As more people connected their computers to this large network, they also began forming what is called the Web 2.0.  Social Media is the new web, and it is growing in leaps and bounds.


VOIP

August 31, 2010

inQuo Computer Repair in Salt Lake City, inQuo Computer Repair in Salt Lake City, inQuo Computer Support in Utah, inQuo Computer Repair in UtahSo everyone knows that the internet has permeated much of our lives.  One area that this holds very true is voice communications.  Many people have abandoned their old land-lines from the phone company for mobile phones and internet based telephone service

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol.  When you send an email, download a song, or view a webpage, all the data is sent using small packets.  VOIP works in a similar way, breaking down your conversation into small packets and sent along with all the other internet traffic.

There are several ways to communicate over the internet using VOIP.  A popular commercial option called Vonage allows you to connect a regular telephone to a device that plugs right into your internet connection.  Vonage gives you all of the same features you had with your old phone, but their service is usually less expensive.  The quality of the phone calls is very good, and with cool features like multi-number forwarding and voice mails that are delivered into your email box, you may find the switch to be an easy one.

Another way to communicate over the web is to use Skype.  Skype has a similar commercial service like Vonage, but you can also use their service for free when calling other Skype members.  It is free to join, and does not require any special hardware to be purchased, though if you have a webcam, you can do video telephone calls!

Many businesses have switched from expensive and hard to maintain telephone switches to VOIP systems.  With a new telephone switch costing several thousand dollars, VOIP is a great way to get all the benefits of a multi-line telephone system without a huge cost upfront.


Product Spotlight: Clear Wireless Internet

August 24, 2010

You may have seen the commercials on TV, or walked past the kiosk at the mall, but what exactly is Clear Wireless Internet service?

Clear is a company that offers high speed internet in a mobile application using 4G wireless technology.  The company offers several different plans and options including mobile wireless internet, telephone services and home internet access.

Mobile wireless is provided by using laptop air cards or usb wireless connections.  Home internet service is made possible by a wireless access point, similar to a cable or DSL modem.  You can plug a switch or router into the wireless modem to share the internet connection to multiple computers in your home or office.  Telephone service uses VOIP technology (Voice Over Internet Protocol), the same technology many companies use.

The benefits:  The service is priced fairly reasonable, and the download speeds can match traditional broadband in certain area’s.  Mobile internet is a great tool for businesses and home users.  Now you can surf the internet all over town.

The drawbacks:  Some area’s may not have the best coverage.  4G is a relatively new technology, and some of the bugs may not be worked out completely.  VOIP relies on a steady internet connection.  If there is an issue with the internet, your phone will also be down.

As we have said before, 4G is going to change alot of ways you access the internet and digital services.  Clear Wireless Internet is a good example of that.  With a 14-Day window to test the service before getting locked into a contract, you can easily test Clear for yourself.


Broadband – Cable vs. DSL – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter

March 30, 2010
Broadband internet service is a part of many people’s daily lives, whether at home, at work, with our phones and even at coffee shops and other public locations.  Many terms are used by advertisers and computer nerds, but what do they mean?

Cable and DSL
  • Cable broadband travels over the standard COAX cable that is usually buried and ran directly to homes.  Cable internet can offer faster speeds than DSL, but the broadband internet for a neighborhood is a shared connection, which may mean that during peak times, the internet may slow down.
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a broadband internet service that works over regular copper telephone wires.  Most homes in the US have copper phone wires that are run (either underground, or overhead) directly to them.  Those lines run from your home to a DSLAM (a building or box that feeds the internet to homes).  DSL speeds can be slower than cable, however, because of how the network is setup, there is not much variation in that speed.
Bandwidth, Upload and Download

inQuo Computer Repair in Salt Lake City, UT - The Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter

  • Bandwidth refers to the capacity or speed of a connection.  Imagine your internet connection is a pipe.  The diameter of the pipe is your bandwidth.
  • Upload speed means the speed in which your computer or network can send data over the internet.  When sending emails, accessing websites (typing the address), or sending large files over FTP or file sharing networks, you are uploading.
  • Download speed means the speed in which your computer or network can receive files and information over the internet.  When you are viewing a video on a website, you are downloading the stream to your computer, temporarily.  When you open an email and save a file to your hard drive, you are downloading that file.  When you type in a web address, as the page begins to load, it is downloading the information to your computer in the form of text and graphics.
Cable and DSL Broadband are priced differently, and depending on your individual needs, either one can be a good fit for you.  For the average home computer user that is surfing the internet for news and email, DSL is probably a good solution.  For online gaming, downloading large files, and heavy internet streaming (movies and video), cable may be a better solution.  Cable is typically more expensive than DSL.

The Virus Issue – Part Three of Three – inQuo’s Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter Volume 13

December 18, 2009

So you have a virus, or several.  What are some ways to remove those pesky programs for your computer?

Disconnect from the Web

Once your computer is infected, you will probably want to close the internet connection as soon as possible.  If you are on a business network, you could infect other machines on the network.  Some viruses also spread through instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  The longer your computer is on the internet, the chances are more likely that you may infect another computer.

Also, if your computer is acting as a Zombie Machine, you may be sending out spam emails.

Boot in Safe Mode

Most viruses are not effective if you are running in Safe Mode.  Turn off the computer, then restart.  As soon as you see any information on the screen, start tapping on the F8 key.  Even if you hear beeping when you tap on that key, continue.  You should eventually be presented a menu screen.  Use the arrow keys to choose Safe Mode.

Safe Mode lets the computer run on a minimal amount of drivers.  This is  great way to fix issues, and especially, remove any viruses.

Because your computer is no longer connected to the internet, you will need another computer to download the following files.  Download and save the files to a blank CD or a USB flash drive.  Install them on the infected machine and let each one scan completely:

  • MalwareBytes – Anti Malware/Spyware/Virus program.  Free program that is very good at removing many infections.
  • UnHackMe – A pretty good program that can remove many viruses and worms.  This program is a bit trickier to run, but if you can get it figured out, you may be virus free.  The program is a trial version, but will run for 30 days for free.

OK, I Have Tried All Those Things, But There is Still Weirdness

Virus removal can be hit-or-miss sometimes.  If you still having symptoms of a virus, you may need to search forums and anti-virus company websites for specific information about the virus issues you are having.  Here are some links to good resources we use:

  • bleepingcomputer.com – Offers great forums and tutorials for many levels of computer users.
  • annoyances.org – Similar to bleeping computers, find many useful tips for your computer use.