Web Development

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Website Security Tips To Keep Your Website & Brand Safe

Your website is typically the first connection you’ll make with potential customers. With 2.6 billion smart phone users around the world, and 81% of shoppers conducting online research prior to making a purchase, a good website is ideal for generating sales. You’ll want to ensure that it’s easy to navigate and not confusing, and that any information a person could want to know about your business, is relatively straightforward.  This includes your store and/or office address, contact information, links to social media accounts, and ultimately, what sets you above the rest. The design should be interesting enough to keep their attention, and the content should be written in a way that highlights your unique brand.

When it comes to websites, design is usually the first thing you think about, and it makes sense. But ultimately, in the grand scheme of the internet, ensuring that your website is secure should be a top priority.

Many small businesses assume that hacking won’t happen to them because they’re too small to be noticed. However, hackers don’t discriminate when it comes to breaching websites and they’ll even use automated tools to find vulnerable sites. Your website embodies your brand, and as the first contact with customers, ensuring it’s security will save you from potential disaster in the future.

Hacking threats can come in many forms – infecting a website with malware in order to spread that malware to site visitors, stealing customer information (such as names, email address, and even credit card information), and even hijacking or crashing your site. As a small business owner, a single security breach could destroy customer trust.

In the past week, over 1.5 million websites have been hacked after a vulnerability was utilized in the release  of WordPress 4.7.1. Quietly, and then very publicly, WordPress released version 4.7.2 to rectify the situation. But for those nearly 2 million websites, it was already too late. While it’s not yet clear how the WordPress sites are getting infected in the first place, it’s possible that login credentials that allow the site content to be changed aren’t being locked down, or there’s an unknown vulnerability in the CMS, or operating system they run on. What we do know, is that once a system is infected, the malware installs a variety of backdoors on the webserver – a feature that’s causing many hacked sites to repeatedly be infected.

There are many ways that you can protect yourself, including running premium security plug ins and having daily back ups with a proper security plan in place with your provider. Most managed hosting providers will be able to show you how they keep your website secure if you ask. If you’re running a business, security should never be a support option – it should be included with your hosting plan!


A Few DIY Tips For Your Website Security

With the goal of keeping it simple, here are a few options that you can implement now to to help maintain the security of your website.

  1. Keep Your Website Updated. Hackers are always thinking deviously when it comes to gaining access to websites, and developers move just as quickly to block them. Ensuring that your website is always up-to-date on a weekly, or even daily basis, will address those security fixes as they happen, in turn, lowering your risk!
  2. Use Stronger Passwords. Remembering a complicated password can be difficult, but as many as 8% of websites that have been hacked, were because people didn’t utilize a strong password. Try creating a password that is a minimum of 6 characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols! Don’t forget, passwords are case sensitive so you also utilize both uppercase and lower case letters!
  3. Select Your Website Host Carefully. Nearly 41% of the websites that were hacked were because the hosting service didn’t put the necessary importance on security! Before choosing a hosting service, make sure you ask about their security protocols and find out if they have the necessary firewalls and malware scanning.

Here at Octopus Creative we keep your online brand safe, and security is never an add-on option, it’s an absolute necessity. Get in touch with us if you have questions about your online security or if your web provider recently told you that YOU have to pay for a new site because of their security vulnerabilities!

Another Step Forward for Mobile Marketing SEO

In a world that is always moving, and continuously pushing the innovation envelope, it’s not surprising to discover that people are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices. The mobile device has integrated itself into society quickly, without falter, and with incredible benefits to both the individual consumer and the business market. For us at Octopus Creative, our mobile phones are just one of the tools we use.

Mobile search rates have quickly surpassed desktop search rates, specifically when searching for local businesses. What are you more likely to do when seeking a local seamstress, a local craftsman, a local restaurant or a local marketing sidekick (like us, Octopus Creative!)? You want answers quickly, and what’s quicker than reaching into your pocket for that extended appendage you call your mobile phone?

“People interact with their phones very differently than they do with their PCs, and I think that when you design from the ground up with mobile in mind, you create a very different product than going the other way.” – Kevin Systrom

Google understands that the increase in the use of the search engine via mobile device is a giant leap forward in the world of digital marketing. Google’s Gary Illyes announced they plan on releasing a separate mobile search index which will become the primary search index.  Over the course of the next few months, Google will be dividing its search index, giving priority to searches done on a mobile device with better, fresher content. While the separate desktop index will be maintained, it will not be as up-to-date as the mobile index.

What does this mean for businesses? It means that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become even more critical for effective digital marketing. Previously, the SEO set for your desktop website would easily translate over into your mobile website. These changes mean that you can set strategic SEO for desktop and mobile device. This will directly impact the use of keywords, allowing businesses to be more strategic in their implementation. Being able to use separate SEO settings for your mobile website compared to your desktop website will increase your audience reach and allow for hyper-targeting. Organizations will be able to strategically market to differentiated target audiences that primarily use their mobile devices, while also increasing traffic to desktop websites by targeting an entirely separate set of keywords for desktop users.

Let’s break it down with an example of a local cleaning business called ‘Sparkle & Shine’. To ensure that their website will reach both mobile device users and desktop users equally, Sparkle & Shine can implement separate keywords for each market. Sparkle & Shine understands that 70% of mobile searches result in an online action within an hour of the search being conducted. Why is this important? By increasing keywords and mobile website options directly targeted to making a sale, Sparkle & Shine can ensure that potential clients will quickly request their cleaning help. Sparkle & Shine is also aware that mobile device users search local businesses with Google more often.  By ensuring their target keywords include their location, Sparkle & Shine will see an increase in clients through their mobile website.

To guarentee that the separate mobile search index will be advantageous for all users, Google has also launched a new testing tool for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This tool works on your mobile device and uses Google’s “live web-search infrastructure” to analyze the AMP page with the real Googlebot, which means that the result is done in real time. It will test the validity of the AMP markup and structured data on the page related to AMP and if issues are found, you will be able to click on them to see the details. The line in the source code will be highlighted to show exactly where the error is and you will be able to correct it. The tool even includes links to show you a live preview of how this page will appear in Google’s search results.

Google is the market leader for search engines, with over 4,464,000,000 searches per day and 73% of search engine global search engine use. Talk about all hands on deck in the Google server room!

“Mobile phones are misnamed. They should be called gateways to human knowledge.” – Ray Kurzweil

When it comes to the mobile device, the world is at our fingertips, quite literally. As marketers and entrepreneurs, Octopus Creative is pumped to dive right in and discover how the mobile search index can help all of us achieve our marketing goals!