Michelle Vella on Marilyn Denis

Michelle Vella on The Marilyn Denis Show

By | Fashion, myRealStudio | One Comment

Watch RealSTUDIO’s founder Michelle Vella on The Marilyn Denis Show this Friday, January 27th (10am) on CTV – Canada wide. Michelle pursued her dream career as an artist and illustrator just over a year ago. She tells Marilyn her story and gets a makeover for her new career.

Hosted by Marilyn Denis and taped before a studio audience, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is a daily lifestyle and entertainment talk show featuring Canadian and international celebrities and experts. Celebrities who have appeared on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW include Harry Connick Jr., Eric McCormack, Carrie Underwood, Amy Poehler, Victor Garber, Tatiana Maslany, Michael Bublé, Diane Keaton, Jason Momoa, Shania Twain, Catherine O’Hara, Keith Urban, Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden, Erica Durance, and many more. Top lifestyle experts who have appeared on the show include Jamie Oliver, Dr. Oz and Daphne Oz, Anthony Bourdain, The Kitchen Cousins, John Edward, Mike Holmes, Scott McGillivray, The Property Brothers, Bryan Baeumler, and now…. our very own Michelle Vella!

Do it yourself marketing

Shadow Work: Casting Light on Do-it-yourself Marketing

By | myRealStudio | No Comments

Just to be sure, yes you can do it all yourself – but not the way a professional will do it.

Advances in technology have given everyone the ability to do everything themselves similar to how the refrigerator gave us the ability to make our own lunch – yet restaurants exist because they usually do it better and save us time.

Today however, we find ourselves doing everything. This includes self check-out at the grocery store, automated teller machines at banks and pumping gas at gas stations. This is called “Shadow Work” and often the tasks are pretty simple.

When it comes to business, we now have the ability to become our own marketing director, creative director, ad buyer, content writer, media manager and more. But this is not as simple as pumping gas.  Ad agencies still exist to this day because knowing the difference between promoted posts, boosted posts, native advertising, keyword research, geo-fencing and Layar doesn’t even begin to touch the surface.

Small business owners waste more money per dollar spent trying to do it all themselves by making huge errors. It’s like they are pumping their own gas but only getting half of it in the tank. So if you think doing it all yourself saves time and money, think again.

Here’s a solution. Work with a media company or creative group to come up with a plan or campaign. The “Do-it-yourself” part can be doing tasks they have laid out.

7 Steps to Avoid a Real Estate WordPress® Hack

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Do you lock the door to your office when you leave it? If someone said your keys had been copied would you change the locks? If we consider your website is like an office where it is openly published that the keys have been copied on a regular basis – then it makes sense to change the locks there as well. If we can agree with that then you’ll like these simple to follow 7 steps to avoid a real estate WordPress® hack

If you have a real estate WordPress® website it’s time to take this as seriously as protecting the other things in your life; You protect your business premises, your vehicles, your office equipment and your computers and it’s time to include your Real Estate WorPpress® Website more than you might think.

What Happens When You Get Hacked

Sometimes it’s not apparent. This is the most insidious hack. What they do is use your database and server space for themselves. We’ve seen hard core adult material being served from a victim’s server – racking up bandwidth and slowing down their legit site. This is like having someone hiding in your office and making long distance calls and ordering from Ebay behind your back.

If you are lucky you will see the hack or be told by a prospect about a security warning they got upon visiting your website. Most hacks come with malware and you will be listed with Google as a site that hosts maleware and put in Google jail until you can fix it. Your hosting company will often shut your site down. You will lose search engine ranking, you will lose a lot of time and you will lose integrity from prospects and clients – especially lead generation sites that allow clients to log in with credentials. Your wide open website can and will affect others.

7 Steps to Avoid a Real Estate WordPress® Hack

WordPress® hacks are very common now, more then just a few years ago. When it happens, panicked website owners call their hosting provider to help solve the problem.  Unfortunately hosting companies don’t normally provide this sort of service and will in fact shut your website down if they suspect you are a danger to their server – because it’s your website and you got infected. After all, you are only renting space on their server and you were irresponsible with that space.

The website developer will be able to help fix the problem and hopefully you have a monthly maintenance package with them. The best bet is to find a company who will not only host but help secure, maintain and clean you compromised site . We offer this with all our hosted real estate WordPress® websites and these are some basic things that we do to help keep the hackers at bay.

1. keep your WordPress® version up to date.

You would think this is a no brainer, its not. Do it keep it up to date. When you get that email saying a new version of WordPress® is available. UPDATE! Its likely got a fix for a known vulnerability. This will save your ass. Especially now that the known vulnerability is known to everyone.

2. Keep all your plugins up to date and delete ones you’re not using. 

Almost all plugins are created by 3rd parties to access your website and add functionality. They are like apps on your phone. You will have at least one plugin – your IDX feed. An off-the-shelf WordPress® install is fairly bare bones and a real estate website is complicated, chances are you have many more plugins than you might think. There might be plugins not being used anymore… delete them. You don’t need them sitting there inviting hackers to play with your WordPress® back-end. Keep all the plugins you use up to date and smelling fresh.

3. Delete any themes you’re not using.

Even if it’s a custom designed site, the design of your site relies on themes to manage the look and feel. WordPress® comes with a few themes of it’s own and there may be more themes you tested out and though, yuck. You don’t need them and they also can be a way in for hackers. Only keep the theme you are using and it’s associated child theme.

4. Keep your theme up to date.

If you have a theme thats is never updated from time to time then it’s time to find a new one. This is a very common way hackers can bust into your site. Updating the WordPress® version is not enough – the theme needs to be updated as well. You want to stay with a theme that updates.

5. Wordfence.

Install it ( its free) and run regular scans. Its a serious life saver.

6. Find Good tech support. 

If you’re looking for $6, $8 or $10 a month hosting, they are not going to help you if you get hacked and rightly so. Don’t learn this the hard way. It is an unreasonable expectation to think your hosting company should sort out whats going on, consult and offer guidance on how to handle it moving forward and in some cases actually help you fix the issue for this kind of monthly payment. Hosting companies that offer this sort of assistance cost more. Often the website developer has a maintenance package.

7. Change your passwords.

You have to change your passwords to something hard to break. Do not use anything with words in it, make it a mix of special characters and capitals and it should be long. I know, how will you ever remember it? You wont. Write it down, use a password manager and suck it up. Hacking through a password is easy.

None of this will guarantee you won’t get hacked but these are some of the better WordPress® practices you can employ as a good step forward. Its better to take the precautions than to pick up the frustrating pieces of being WordPress® hacked.

Did I miss something? Let me know.


By | myRealStudio | No Comments

John and his licensed assistant Angela Akehurst were looking for a professional brand to suit their long time experience in real estate. A brand that is friendly and suited the lifestyle of British Columbia. They were as pleased with the results as I was. All the best John and Angela!

Here is a better look at their logo in my portfolio John & Angela Akehurst


John Akenhurst
John Akenhurst
John Akenhurst


By | myRealStudio | No Comments

Karen Costa, an agent from Vancouver wanted a new brand to represent her business and she had no idea what she wanted at first but thankfully our process helped us to create a brand she loves. We also came up with her tag line “Your Real Estate Source” from a few descriptive sentences that she left us with. Here is a better look at Karen’s logo in my logo design portfolio

Logo Design and Tag Line by Realstudio® Michelle Vella©2014

Karen Costa