Archives for June 2012

4 Ways You Could Use Blogging Today

I don’t know where the week has gone! Last week I was plagued with internet problems so this week I’m working hard on catching up and my feet don’t seem to have touched the ground.

I’ve been speaking to a few clients and potential clients about their blogging this week, and it seems that some people are struggling with making their blogging work for them. Too many people are treating their blog as their ‘news’ page, only posting ‘me, me, me’ type articles, and they’re wondering why it’s not working for them.

So I thought I’d share with you how some of my contacts and clients are using their blogs – who knows, it may spark a few ideas!

1) DIY Childcare Vouchers

http://www.diychildcarevouchers.co.uk/blog/

These guys offer a DIY system for employers to offer Childcare vouchers to their employees. It’s a little known fact that this can save employees around £900 a year in tax.

The problem is getting to the employers to tell them that they SHOULD be offering this service and they CAN do it easily.

So what Andrew has done is to give them a very easy list of reasons as to why they should do this, citing employee loyalty and productivity, among other things. (emotional)

Childcare costs are big in the news at the moment and you’ll be seeing blogs about that (topical), as well as blogs encouraging employees to get their employers to offer the scheme (appealing to influencers).

Could you write blog posts that touch the emotions, offer a topical opinion or appeal to the influencers of the people you want to buy from you? I bet you could!

2) Bathbomb.biz

http://makebathbombs.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/natural-cleaning-challenge-week-3-eco.html

A retail company offering supplies to make your own soaps and bathbombs / fizzers, Bathbomb.biz have decided to appeal to their target audience by proffering a Natural Cleaning Challenge.

Incorporating the power of Twitter by using the hashtag #NatClean2012 (shareable), the posts include requests to tweet and retweet (call to action) and offer free natural cleaning recipes for various items around the home.

On the face of it, these posts have nothing to do with bathbombs, but it’s a good bet that if people are into natural cleaning recipes, they don’t want to be buying chemicals in their soap and are open to making them at home. Who do you think they will come to for supplies? (relateable)

What could you write today that is shareable, includes a call to action, and is relateable to your audience?

3) London Chauffeurs

http://www.londonchauffeuruk.co.uk/does-andy-murray-need-chauffeur-to-get-to-the-wimbledon-final/

Offering chauffeur driven corporate transport and wedding cars, London Chauffeurs are in a crowded market.

Rather than a humdrum run of the mill ‘Here’s why you should use us’ type of blog, with their latest they’ve gone for “Does Andy Murray Need a Chauffeur To Get To Wimbledon”.

This relates to Wimbledon, which has just started (topical) and has a tongue in cheek slant boot (humourous) all while ending up stating they’re happy to help.

Take some time today to see what’s topical that you could write about, and considering adding a humourous aspect to stick in people’s minds.

4) LeighQuantrill.com

http://www.leighquantrill.com/top-reasons-to-use-pinterest/

Leigh (who some of you know is my eldest daughter and is building her business) makes no bones that while she’s fab at most aspects of social media, she’s new to blogging and finding her feet.

In this post she shares an infographic she has found (repurposing content) that tells people about Pinterest (educational). She’s also tied this in with an offer she has on setting up Pinterest accounts http://www.leighquantrill.com/pinterest-account-setup/ (tie-in).

Think about what content you could repurpose, how you could educate your readers, and maybe how that ties in with one of your products or services.

That’s just 4 of my contacts and clients I have shared with you – I might make this a regular thing and share once a month – it doesn’t have to be just clients and my close contacts though – if you’ve written a blog that you’re proud of and want to share the reasoning behind it, tell me about it in the comments below.

And if you’re struggling with your blogging and just how to fit it all in, I’m opening up my July order book for our Bonkers Blogging Offer at http://www.nikkipilkington.com/bonkers-blogging-offer/

Happy Blogging!

DIY Reputation Management: Five Tips for Business Owners

A guest post by Rich Gorman

There is a saying in online marketing circles, that a company’s online reputation is like its business card. In reality, though, that’s not really accurate — because in truth, online reputation is much more than that. It’s not just a company’s business card, but the very source of its credibility and authority. Your online reputation is what determines whether clients and colleagues will do business with you at all — or instead reject you in favor of your closest competition.

Think about it. In the Age of Google, a potential client can look up information about your business in a heartbeat. If that client only finds negative reviews and bad publicity, well, your brand is in trouble. It’s all too easy for the client to conduct another quick online search, and find one of your rival companies to do business with — a company with a cleaner online reputation.

If, however, a potential client Googles your company and finds only evidence that your business is sterling, trusted, and authoritative… well, then you’re good to go!

That’s what online reputation management is all about: Minimizing negative listings on the first few pages of search engine results, and ensuring that potential clients find only information that portrays your brand in a positive light — as a brand of choice among consumers.

A full-scale online reputation management campaign is something any company or brand should consider, but there are also some simpler, DIY tactics that any business owner can implement. Consider the following tips for protecting your reputation, and defending yourselves from online attacks on the Internet.

The first thing any small business owner should do is start regularly monitoring his or her online reputation. This can be as easy as regularly searching for your company’s name on Google, Yahoo, and Bing — but of course, setting up a Google alert is an even more effective method. Don’t just stop with search engines, though; you can also monitor what people are saying about your brand on social networks, simply through conducting Twitter searches.

Monitoring will let you know where you stand, and whether attacks have already been made against your brand. Your next step is to start playing some defense. Remember that there is nothing you can do to stop people from attacking you on the Web, per se — but you can make it so that consumers and online search users don’t ever see those online attacks. Your best bet is to build a strong, defensive wall of positive, brand-enhancing content — a wall to keep those negative attacks off the first page of Google.

A good defense means snatching up the best online real estate. Start with exact-match domain names — Your-company’s-name .com, .org, and .net. These are the pages that will likely rank the highest on Google, when someone searches for your company — and as such, you want to make sure your enemies and rival companies don’t have access to these pages! Even if you don’t plan to use all of these domains, you should buy them anyway. If you’ve got ’em, your enemies can’t use ’em.

Getting these domain names is important, but so is getting social media accounts — on Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Again, you may not plan to actively use all of these accounts, but signing up for them is still important.

After that, the next phase of the reputation defense campaign is building a strong, defensive wall. This is something you must do brick by brick — with each piece of content you write and publish being a brick in your defensive wall. The goal here is essentially to flood Google, Yahoo, and Bing with positive content about your company, effectively drowning out any negative listings or bad reviews. The more content you publish to these online domains and social media accounts, the better.

This is the most time-intensive part of the reputation defense process, but also the most important. It’s an ongoing job, too. Google rankings are based, to a degree, on “freshness” — so a Facebook account or a blog that has new posts every couple of days will be much more helpful to you than an account or blog that is only updated once every two months.

Here’s one final word of caution: Generally speaking, you’re going to want to resist the temptation to respond to negative reviews, on sites like Yelp.com. Responding to negative feedback may make you feel better, but in the end, it’s only drawing more attention to these undesirable listings. Better to aim for suppression — achieved through the high volumes of content mentioned above!

Reputation management is not easy, and it does require some time and a commitment to writing good, compelling content on a regular basis. With that said, a strong online reputation is invaluable. There’s no way for a business to succeed without one. As such, investing in reputation management is something no company should fail to consider.

About the Author

Rich Gorman is involved with multiple companies and is an expert in reputation management. Additionally Rich operates the official blog for the Direct Response industry where he shares his thoughts on Direct Response Marketing.

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Did you know your email address on Facebook has been changed?

Facebook seem to be King of making changes and not telling anyone lately (another post about that tomorrow) so no-one should really be surprised at the latest, but it does seem to be taking a bit of a liberty.

When you signed up to Facebook, you gave them your email address. Maybe you used your personal address, or, like me, you used your business address. After all, you want to be sure that if someone wants to get hold of you, they have the correct address, right?

Well apparently not according to Facebook.

In a very quiet move they’ve recently changed everyone’s email address to a special Facebook one that sends emails directly to your Facebook messages.

You can see in the screenshot below that my email address has been changed from nikkipilk@gmail.com to nikkipilkington@facebook.com!

Now, some people are going to be cool with that. It may suit their purposes to have any emails sent to them by people from Facebook direct to their Facebook messages box.

But what about those people who aren’t cool with that?

For example, me.

I don’t want people to email me direct to my FB messages box – that’s what the message button is for.

I want people who choose to send me an email to be sure that that email comes direct to ME. If it’s a business email, I want the whole conversation in MY email so I have a papertrail and don’t have to refer to Facebook all the time to keep up with it.

I want to be able to schedule events from my email directly into my calendar or forward it to my CRM to remind me to do certain things – I can’t do that if it’s in the proprietary messaging system of Facebook.

But that’s not what pisses me off most of all.

What REALLY bugs me is that THEY DID THIS WITHOUT EITHER ASKING OR INFORMING ME!

Now, I get that facebook is free. I get that they’re providing a platform for me. I get that they expect me to converse with business contacts through my Business Page (you can like it here BTW).

I get all that.

But it still feels like what they’ve done is wrong. They’ve changed something vital about my profile without asking me or even letting me know.

Will it stop me using Facebook? No, I love Facebook. But it does make me think a little less of them (not that they care of course).

However, I’m not 100% miffed with them, because it is possible to change it back, and indeed I have.

In this post on Lifehacker, they tell us exactly how to do this:

  1. Click “About” on your profile and scroll down to your email address. Click “Edit” to change them.
  2. Click on the circle next to your Facebook email address and change its setting to “Hidden From Timeline”.
  3. Click on the circle next to your other email addresses and change their settings to “Shown On Timeline”.
  4. Click the Save button at the bottom of the Edit popup (Don’t forget this step).

There’s a screenshot on that post to help, pop over to read the whole post.

So you can get your default email address back and ignore the Facebook one; that’s a good thing.

Facebook have admitted that they added this facility, but haven’t said why they made it default on everyone’s profiles without telling them; that’s bad.

I’d be interested to know – before you read this or other posts over the last couple of days, did YOU know anything about these chances? Please take a few seconds to let me know in the comments below.

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New Email Marketing Tactics

A guest blog by Samantha Peters

English: email envelope

English: email envelope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a consumer wants to find the best business credit card for his company, he is going to start looking for as many options as he possibly can. If a traveler wants to avoid airline bag fees, then he will want to be placed on lists of airlines that email out airline specials that pertain to his needs.

More people are connecting to their favorite vendors through email, and that is causing more vendors to market to new clients via email. The key to email marketing is to utilize new tools that are available and update older methods to reach an audience that will be interested in your marketing message.

Social Networking

One of the advantages of social networking is that you can reach millions of prospective clients from all over the world at the same time. The way that you can utilize this resource to help build your email database is to allow customers to click on a button that will get them placed on your email list.

When customers are reading through your latest offerings on the social networking websites, they are often inspired to want more information on your product and your company. When you include the option to get more information via email in your social networking presence, you are doing a lot to increase your marketing exposure.

Segment Your Email List

The problem with email lists is that people will often send a single message to everyone on their lists. Do marketing surveys with your email clients to help segment your list into categories that will apply to what you are trying to sell. Your customers will want to fill out marketing surveys because it will insure that they only get information on the products they will really be interested in. This increases the effectiveness of your emails and helps to prevent people from opting out of your emails.

Create Emails for Smartphones

Smartphones are becoming extremely popular and more people are getting their emails via their phones. When you create your marketing emails, keep smartphones in mind. For example, keep your subject short so it will be easy to read on a smartphone and avoid including images and attachments that will make it difficult to open an email on a phone.

Marketing with email is constantly evolving. If you want your company to be able to take advantage of a growing audience of prospects, then you need to find effective ways to use marketing emails.

This Guest Post is written by Samantha Peters, an avid blogger who manages The Tech Update  and enjoys writing about new marketing tactics and new developments in email marketing strategy.  Samantha can be found on Twitter here.

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3 Quick Things You Can Do To Promote Your Website Today

If you’re anything like me, Monday is a hectic day, and one when you’re most likely to forget about promoting and marketing yourself, and be head down bum up in client work.

I’ve recently implemented a new kind of organisation plan (I say ‘kind of’ because it’s new and I’m still working it out!) whereby I use my Mondays and Friday to do Blogging work for clients, Tuesdays and Thursdays for SEO work, and Wednesdays to plan, market myself and deal with general ‘stuff. It worked OK last week, so I’m going to give it another go this week. Nothing scientific about it, but if it works, then great!

So, less of me and back to you – if your Monday is as hectic as I imagine it is, but you don’t want to miss out on promoting yourself and your website, here are 3 things you could do today that don’t take up much time.

1) WRITE A BLOG POST

I know, blogging may not be your thing, but trust me it’s a great thing to do for many reasons. I won’t go into them all in this post, but suffice to say you’re helping Google to see that your site is expanding, adding great content (very important since the recent Google updates) and you’re helping your readers to see you as credible and authoratitive. What’s not to like?

Not sure what to blog about? Here are 21 ideas. http://www.nikkipilkington.com/21-things-you-could-blog-about-right-now/

2) SCHEDULE SOME SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

It’s easy to get tied up and let your Social Media profiles slide when you’re busy, but it’s important to keep up a
regular presence if you want to be the person people turn to when they need your services. Take 10 minutes to schedule some tweets and Facebook posts to go out while you’re getting on with your work. Hootsuite http://www.hootsuite.com and Buffer http://www.bufferapp.com are great for this, allowing you to post links, questions, videos, photos, comments, thoughts and more, then schedule them to be released throughout the day.

3) LOOK INTO PINTEREST

If you’ve heard all about Pinterest and aren’t sure whether it will work for you, it’s worth having a good look – you can
find me at http://www.pinterest.com/nikkipilkington

Pinterest works pretty well for most UK sites, generating traffic, readers for blogs, and indeed leads and sales.

I wrote about Pinterest for a client here: http://www.marketingbyweb.co.uk/pinterest-whats-that-all-about-then

If you think Pinterest is all about work at home moms posting pictures of lasagne and cleaning tips, that article is well worth a read, because in the UK it’s not.

If you want to give Pinterest a go, then it’s also well worth checking out this great offer from Leighquantrill.com http://www.leighquantrill.com/pinterest-account-setup/

As some of you know, Leigh is my eldest daughter, and has been working as a Virtual Assistant for some time now, doing great work for her clients. I’m very proud of her, and loving seeing the enthusiasm she has for social media and helping her clients. So I make no apologies for promoting her offer, instead of one of mine 😉

Whatever you decide to do today, have a great Monday – why not drop me a Facebook message http://www.facebook.com/internetmarketingbynikki to let me know what you’ve done to promote yourself today?

Happy Marketing!

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How to stop receiving Game and App requests in Facebook

I don’t know about you, but the onslaught of game and app requests on Facebook is driving me mad!

OK, so my friends may want to play bingo, slots and poker. They may want to know their latest Klout score, or add people to their birthday list.

They may even want me to play something to do with bubbles, or manage a farm.

BUT I DON’T WANT TO!

If, like me, you’re sick of receiving the endless requests to join games and apps that you have no interest in, here’s how to at least cut down on the requests, if not eliminate the altogether.

First, navigate to the games and apps page on Facebook (if you’re logged in this should take you straight to your page).

At the top you will see ‘Invites from Friends’ – it looks like this (I’ve removed the names on mine):

Hovering over a request will give you a little cross. Clicking on that will give you another box that looks like this:

Clicking on ‘Block [app]’ will allow you to block all future instances of this app, so you should get no more invitations. Do this for each of your invitations (it could take a while but it’s soooo worth it!) and you should see the requests cut down quite a bit.

But it’s not over yet 🙁

Scroll down and you’ll see ‘Requests from Friends’ – this is probably full of people asking for maical weapons, extra fuel and various other things from games where they need power ups to get any further. You will also see apps such as Klout, Birthday Calendar, Family Tree etc in here.

It may look a little like this:

Underneath the name of each app, will be a link that says ‘Ignore all requests for this app’ – clicking on that brings the message “You ignored 66 [name of app] requests. Do you want to block [name of app] or report it as abusive?”

Simply click on ‘block’ and you’ll receive no more requests from that app.

Woohoo!

It’s a little time consuming if you’ve let them build up, but very much worth doing if you want to cut down in future.

Unfortunately you will still receive the odd request as your friends find new games and new apps are launched, but once you’re on top of it you can nip these in the bus by blocking them from the beginning.

Which requests from Facebook bug you the most? Has this post been helpful? Let me know in the comments please.

Are Pandas and Penguins making you feel a bit of a Goose?

Goose

Goose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With all the talk of Google’s updated, naming them Panda and Penguin, it would be easy to feel like a bit of a Goose when it comes to keeping up with what’s going on.

Put simply, Google made a recent algorithm update that changes how it ranks websites. The good thing is that if you were doing things right in the first place, you’re probably OK. The bad thing is that if you weren’t you might be seeing a drop in listings and traffic, in some cases quite significant.

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t fall foul of the Penguin update?

One of the most important parts of this update is to do with your linking profile.

For a long time we’ve been told that inbound links are the be all and end all when it comes to getting Google listings, and indeed they have been very useful.

In the past I’ve written about Anchor text and how it can help you, and encouraged clients to build incoming links.

However, inbound links was getting to be pretty easy to game. Choose your search phrase, buy a load of links that use that phrase as anchor text, and Google saw that your site was important – Bob’s your Uncle!

Of course, Google cottoned on to some of the more dodgy link building schemes, and sites were removed and penalised, but there were still a lot of people out there getting good results from what I would see as Black Hat techniques.

So they’ve changed the goal posts slightly.

Google has realised that when people link to your website, they don’t all use the same anchor text. Much as I’d love people to link to me with ‘social media marketing support’ as the text, they link to me in all sorts of ways:

  • * click here for nikkipilkington.com
  • internet marketing
  • social media help
  • facebook management
  • and more

This is a much more natural linking profile – I don’t tell people what to use, they link to me how they like, and this is what Google is looking for – natural linking profiles where anchor text varies.

Be sure to vary the anchor text in any links you set up (and don’t buy dodgy links, please!) and you should be OK.

The other important part of this process is your content.

Google has always liked websites that are frequently updated with great content, not just full of spacer articles and things that are generated just for search engines.

Fresh, relevant and frequently updated content is the name of the game – of course, a great way to do this is to have a blog on your site!

Basically Google is aiming to give great content to it’s readers – that means it’s trying to oust the over optimised and written for search engine sites and replace them with well written sites with natural looking SEO and content.

So if your site has been ‘overoptimised’ you may have a problem. If not, you should be OK.

And remember, don’t buy those dodgy links 🙂

If you’re worried about your traffic from Google, or want to get more, check out my Super Silly Spring SEO offer, ending today.

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Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no Facebook dislike button

For a long time people have commented that alongside the ubiquitous ‘Like’ button, Facebook should have a ‘dislike’ button to help users show their feelings on a comment or story.

And it kind of makes sense. When one of your friends posts some bad news, showing your support by clicking on Like doesn’t seem appropriate somehow.

So imagine the furore created when a rumour started doing the rounds that Facebook was about to introduce a ‘dislike’ button – all you had to do was click on a link and you’d get it as soon as it was rolled out.

Clicking on the link gave you the opportunity to tell all your friends about this wonderful new development, so of course many many people did just that.

And so it spread.

Unfortunately it’s a scam. A hoax. And potentially malicious.

Clicking on the ‘enable dislike button’ link not only sends the message to all your friends, it also attempts to run dodgy Javascript code on your computer, that could leave you vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

Installing this dislike button allows the program to write to your wall, post to your friends, and can also steal information you may prefer was kept private, including passwords and credit card details.

Security experts Sophos say: “As we’ve explained before, there is no official dislike button provided by Facebook and there isn’t ever likely to be. But it remains something that many Facebook users would like, and so scammers have often used the offer of a “Dislike button” as bait for the unwary.”

Aaagh! I clicked it – what can I do?

When you clicked on the link it probably asked you to like a page and post a comment. The first thing to do is unlike the page and remove your comment.

Then run your anti virus software scanner to make sure nothing has been downloaded to your computer.

Then check your apps page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/bookmarks/apps to make sure that no ‘dislike’ app is in there – if it is, remove it.

I’d personally suggest posting a message on your timeline explaining the scam, maybe linking to this post, and urging friends not to click on the link if they see it.

Were you affected by the dislike button scam? let us know what happened to you in the comments below!

 

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Five Fun Things Small Businesses Can Do with Pinterest

A guest blog from Samantha Peters

Pinterest

Pinterest (Photo credit: stevegarfield)

If you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, Pinterest can be an extremely valuable marketing resource. In fact, this social media website is currently the third most popular behind only Facebook and Twitter. While there is a plethora of ways to utilize this website, let’s discuss five fun things you can do with Pinterest:

1) Share your Products – One of the best features of Pinterest is that it allows you to pin pictures of your products onto boards. By doing this, you can familiarize potential customers with your business and let them know what types of products you offer. Pinterest is great because it’s a simple way to connect with your demographic and most people consider pins to be aesthetically pleasing. In time, you should develop a following of individuals who are interested in your business and you can keep them updated.

2) Network with other Small Businesses – Due to the ease of sharing information on Pinterest, it’s a great way to network with relevant small business owners within your niche. For example, you could repin other products, follow other people and have them follow you. Doing so is an excellent way to develop business relationships and help others while simultaneously building your business.

3) Connect Locally – Many businesses choose to reach out to potential customers within their local area. For example, you could create a board based around what’s going on in your city and other local businesses. By doing this, you can create a sense of community and increase the local exposure of your business dramatically.

4) Get Customer Input – Pinterest can also be highly beneficial for asking your customers what they want. For example, if you are a clothing designer or make arts and crafts, you could create a communal board where your customers can post pictures of existing styles they would like to see you incorporate.

5) Connect Pinterest with other Social Media Accounts – Syncing your account with other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is effective for maximizing traffic and gaining followers. By doing this, you can transfer customers from one social media page to another and increase your exposure with minimal effort. This is also great if you’re trying to build a brand around your small business.

To summarize, Pinterest has a lot of potential and should only continue to grow in the future. If you need help with launching your Pinterest campaign, you can utilize the services of a company like OpenSesame. Marketing firms and social media firms will only continue to look towards Pinterest, so if you are looking to get your brand out there, don’t shy away from the newest social media platform making a name today.

This Guest Post is written by Samantha Peters, who manages The Tech Update and enjoys blogging about fun new ways entrepreneurs and small business can use Pinterest in the marketing efforts. Samantha can be found on Twitter here.

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LinkedIn Password Hacking – what LinkedIn is saying and how to avoid it in future

I’ve avoided the whole furore over the recent LinkedIn password hacking problems, as it’s been covered everywhere else. However, chatting to a client this weekend, and mentioning that I received an email from LinkedIn explaining that my password may have been one of the ones compromised and how to address the problem, he replied that he hadn’t received an email, yet when trying to login was told his password had indeed been compromised.

So, here’s the email in full, as some of you may not have received it but may need it 🙂

We recently became aware that some LinkedIn passwords were compromised and posted on a hacker website. We immediately launched an investigation and we have reason to believe that your password was included in the post.
To the best of our knowledge, no email logins associated with the passwords have been published, nor have we received any verified reports of unauthorized access to any member’s account as a result of this event. While a small subset of the passwords was decoded and published, we do not believe yours was among them.
The security of your account is very important to us at LinkedIn. As a precaution, we disabled your password, and advise you to take the following steps to reset it. If you reset your password in the last two days, there is no need for further action.
1. Type www.linkedin.com/settings directly into your browser
2. Type in your email address and press Sign In, no password necessary
3. Follow the on-screen directions to reset your password
Note: Do not reuse your old password when creating your new password.
If you have been using your old LinkedIn password on other sites, we recommend that you change those passwords too. We appreciate your immediate attention to resetting your password and apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have been compromised, there’s how to fix it – at least for now.

I’ve always told clients that one of the best ways to secure your accounts is to regularly change your passwords, yet how many of us religiously do this? I know that I don’t do it as often as I should, that’s for sure.

Which is why I was delighted to see the latest free offering from one of my virtual assistants, Leigh Quantrill – she’s offering a password change reminder service that will email you regularly to recommend you change your passwords; it’s free, it’s not a sales list and it could be a welcome reminder that saves your accounts from being compromised in future. You can find out more about it here: Password Change Reminder Service.

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