Spring Clean Your PC in 5 Steps

March 23rd, 2010

Internet SecurityThis post was inspired by A Virtual Perception’s Welcome Spring Contest!

Some people have been having some trouble lately because of the Facebook virus and others are complaining about slow computers.

Virtual IT Assistants concluded that now is the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning on our computers.

Before updating or running any of these computer cleaning programs presented here, please backup all of your important files and program databases.

It is also not necessary for you to install and run all of the cleanup programs that are shared here.

The purpose of this post is to share some valuable and yet free ways to make sure that your information and privacy is protected while working online. Here are the tips broken into five different steps:

1. Cleanup temp files.
2. Run all updates.
3. Remove any virus or spyware.
4. Change your passwords.
5. Stay safe.

1. Cleanup all of your temp files and disk de-fragmenting software.

(Get help doing this for Mac and Windows.)

Do you already have virus and spyware protection?

Before going on to step 2,
see how your virus scanner is doing.

Affiliate Link

2. Install and Run Virus and Spyware protection on your computer.

Spyware Protection and Repair

Download and run CleanUp! 4.5.2 by Steven Gould.

You’ll find the rest of these tools on our Anti-virus and Spyware Protection list at virtualitassistants’s community profile on CNET.

malware bytes Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

Spybot Spybot Search and Destroy For the best results, install this program and all of its updates while in safe mode with networking enabled. I also strongly recommend that you uncheck the install box for the TeaTimer and SDHelper components.

HiJack This Trend Micro HijackThis Do not download this unless you know what you are doing. This tool is powerful and very effective. However, if you remove the wrong components, you may be unable to even boot your computer back up!

Virus Scanners

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition This is the best free virus scanner that we have found.

Avast Pro Anti-virus Avast Pro Anti-virus Virtual IT Assistants has not installed this program on any of our client’s computers, however our more technical contacts are beginning to highly recommend trying this out. So, it’s being included in this post for that reason.

Notice: Some high speed internet providers (like Comcast and other broadband providers) have gotten smarter about the habits of their users (especially with social and sharing media being more popular than ever), and began providing free internet access with their service. This is the best free virus scanner you’re gonna get.

3. Run all updates on all applications including OS.

Internet Browsers

Browser Plug-ins to Update

Virtual Office Tools

Think about it this way, you have all kinds of programs and applications working on your computer on a daily basis. Those applications are working, so you may ask yourself “Why should I run any updates?”. The reason behind software needing to be updated is that there are new security issues and vulnerabilities being found constantly that may leave your computer open to these threats if you fail to install the patches.

4. Change your passwords on everything!

Once you know that your computer is safe and clean, restart your computer and reset your passwords to everything.

5. Be more careful of what you click on and share.

Do not buy into those heavily advertised MyCleanPC .com or finallyfast .com! If you learn about a new privacy protection program, look them up at WOT Web of Trust) or McAfee

Keyword Placement Cheat Sheet

March 22nd, 2010

A quick look at where, when, and how to use keywords for virtual assistants.
The Virtual Assistants Keyword Cheat Sheet

Your Message, Our Perception

February 22nd, 2010

On January 23, Chris Brogan began these “Kitchen Table Talks” series in hopes of nurturing people new to social media who have “big ideas”. So far, this is my favorite one.

I thought it was very appropriate to share with others who have a small business that is “growing up” with social media.

Inbound Marketing University

November 18th, 2009

To: My Virtual Assistant and Online Business Friends
From: Amber Whitener

Subject: FREE online classes and a certification test you’ll want to take advantage of.

Today, I received my Inbound Marketing Certification from Inbound Marketing University.

What does this certify me (and you when you take it) for?
Information about the certification directly from http://inboundmarketing.com/university/certification:

online-education

The Inbound Marketing Certification acknowledges the recipients proficiency in Inbound Marketing principals and best practices. These principles include: blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.

In order to receive the Inbound Marketing Certification, the recipient must pass a comprehensive certification exam with a score of 75% or higher.

I had the opportunity to attend two FREE classes (in a webinar form) live online:

First Class

Class 14: Advanced Marketing Analytics (AZ501) Taught by: Avinash Kaushik, Google and author of Web Analytics 2.0 I feel VERY fortunate to have began my experience at Inbound Marketing University with this particular course. Mr. Kaushik was an incredibly engaging lecturer on the semi technical topic of web traffic analysis. There are few teachers who can make this sort of topic humorous and informative.

Second Class

Class 15: Passion-Inspired Video & Other Creative Content (GF502) Taught by: Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library TV, and author of Crush It! This was also a very interesting course, less about the tools more about the message. Gary made some very excellent points about how stiff the corporate condition is and how it stifles the possibilities of social media and video campaigns to market business.

Archived Classes

I perused the notes and many of the videos (15 in all) for all the rest of the classes to make sure I was ready to take their test. Each course is very content rich. It was all good review with extra tips tried and proven true by the speaker. Each well-selected speaker is a current expert in the field of the chosen topics.

About the Test

The test was 50 questions, and you only get an hour to finish it. There are only true/false and multiple choice questions. I liked the mix of technical and marketing knowledge required to pass this test. It was a good challenge. I ended up with a 92%. (YAY!) I highly recommend going to http://inboundmarketing.com and take advantage of some of the resources that are available. Let me know what you think. The next Exam session is scheduled for January 2010. I am hoping they have more classes available!

Community Connect Indiana Website

November 17th, 2009

We proudly present a brand new WordPress website we designed for Community Connect Indiana. This is a new community coalition organization that is providing opportunities for community growth in central Indiana! If your business is in need of a new website, or upgrade: Contact Virtual IT Assistants to get started.

Six Important Features of a Community Outreach Website

1. Home Page: Introduction

The homepage of any website should answer two very important questions:

Home Page1. Who are we?

and

2. What can we do for you?

The home page is the most important because it is all about puting your best foot forward.

 

2. Interactive Calendar

Community Connect Indiana needed to have an interactive calendar to share meeting and event information. We give you a website address to create, edit, and remove events.

Interactive CalendarCalendar Options:

Creating events via SMS

Offer subscriptions to the calendar RSS feed

Private Calendars or limited share calendars are also available if you need them.

 

3. Request for Information Forms

Whether you are providing a service, asking for volunteers, or updating interested parties with event information, you will need a RFI form. This can protect your email address from being found and added to a spam list etc.

Contact FormRFI Options:

Get an email as soon as you receive a message from your site.

Choose which information is required when someone completes a form or inquiry.

 

4. Free Resources

Share resources, and link to other valuable resources if you would like to.

ResourcesThis could also serve as a “Services” or “Products” page where you are able to showcase your business products and services.

 

5. Future Plans

Youth ProgramsShare your plans for the future of your organization.

We do not recommend uploading pages that are “Under Construction”. However, it is perfectly acceptable to share products, services, and events that are being planned to make sure your audience comes back and check out your site again when you reveal or release new resources.

If you need volunteers or other personnel to help with a specific project, you could make mention of this on the page introducing the plans.

Let your community know you are here to stay.

 

6. Site Maps

You also will need a dynamic, automated sitemap that will send Google, Bing, and Yahoo any updates and additions to your site.

SitemapThis is very good search engine optimization (SEO).

 

Special Thanks

To Amy Kirkpatrick of Community Connect Indiana for choosing Virtual IT Assistants to build this site.

To Virtual Assistance by Jen for pulling together the inspiring mission statement for the homepage.

Does your business need a new website, or upgrade? Contact Virtual IT Assistants to get started!

CyberCrime Prevention

November 3rd, 2009

Category: Information Security
Region: Global
Target: Anyone Who Conducts Any Type of Online Business (E.G. Online Banking)
Website: http://www.virtualitassistants.com/CyberCrime

Purpose: This petition calls for your attention and proof of support by clicking on “sign and tweet” above to raise awareness of cybercrime and encourage education for prevention. According to http://www.crime-research.org “Cybercrime is defined as crimes committed on the internet using the computer as either a tool or a targeted victim.” These tools include: spyware, phishing, adware, spam and unsafe websites that are used for identity theft and fraud. As you can see here at http://vil.nai.com/vil/newly_discovered_viruses.aspx, new malware and virus threats are discovered ALL THE TIME at the McAfee Threat Center.

sign here

Action: It is unfortunately obvious that this problem is not going away. In fact it is growing exponentially. The FIRST step is admitting we have a problem that we need to take seriously. The only call to action in this twitter petition is simply tweet to sign and spread the word further. Please click on the “sign and tweet” at http://act.ly/uo. Whether you are a business owner or a stay at home mom, you have the right to education and resources that will protect you from these crimes.

How does just tweeting to sign this act.ly petition help?
The more awareness that we can raise will result in more corporate and private resources to sponsor and initiate education and fraud detection programs. Also, you can visit this link http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/corporate/fight_cybercrime/ for a Global Plan to Fight Cybercrime from McAfee.com.

Thank you for your support,

Amber Whitener
Virtual IT Assistants Inc.

Free Education Resources:


McAfee Multipoint Strategy to Fight Cybercrime

http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/corporate/fight_cybercrime/resources/

Government Action

Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008

Cybersecurity Act of 2009

Virtually Assisting You SEO

October 9th, 2009

Website1

One of the most important parts of getting a website setup for your business is to make sure that you have the best search engine optimization possible. Virtual IT Assistants make sure that your site has the right setup to make sure your business can be found online when someone is searching for a product or service your business provides. A recent website that has been optimized is http://www.virtuallyassistingyou.com

We had our first consultation with Virtually Assisting You LLC. on September 16, and this is the original grade this site received from HubSpot’s Website Grader.

Before

Sept 16SEO1

63/ 100 – This score is not terrible, but you want your site to be as close to 100 as possible.

This is the latest grade we captured before sharing in this post.

After

Oct 9 SEO After

The search engine optimization tools we put in place will raise your score consistently over a period of 30 to 60 days. See the latest score below:

(You may need to use the scroll bar and navigate all the way to the far right to see the most recent score.)

These are the kinds of improvements you can expect for your website from Virtual IT Assistants Inc.

Contact us today so we can discuss how you can improve your website’s SEO and search engine visibility.

Virtual IT Assistants Branding

October 2nd, 2009

The first step in establishing your company in the virtual world is by utilizing the intricate web tools (e.g. social media, web 2.0 and so many more. . .) that are available to specify what you are all about. Begin by defining and back it up by branding.

Visit virtual IT assistants on Wikipedia to learn more or contribute to virtual IT assistant’s definition.

Defining virtual IT assistants

Defining Your Business Processes:

1 Defining is explaining or identifying the nature or essential qualities; and determining the fixed boundaries of a word, phrase or object.

Branding Your Business:

2 Branding is establishing kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like, it is distinguished by some distinctive characteristic.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you brand your business.

Answer these questions for your business:

  • What products and services do you provide?
  • Do you guarantee your work?
  • What are your business’s distinctive characteristics?
* For verification purposes we are providing references to validate the accuracy of our comparison.
branding. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 19, 2009, from Dictionary.com
website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/branding
defining. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 19, 2009, from Dictionary.com
website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/defining

Wiki Contributor Banner

Press Release: 9.14.2009

September 14th, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Internet Company Announces Services to Provide Businesses with Innovative Internet Technology Services that Streamline Social Marketing and Web Design.

Indianapolis, Indiana, September 14, 2009