How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Guest author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Are You Promoting Vehicle Safety?

Whether you build cars and trucks or sell them, driving home the message of vehicle safety never gets old.

How do you make sure consumers are aware of the different safety features you offer? Even more important, how do you entice them to use such features?

Although you do not want to put fear in the minds of drivers, you do want them cognizant of potential dangers.

So, are you promoting vehicle safety?

Using Your Website to Drive More Business in Your Direction

Pre-Internet, builders and dealers relied on ads and word-of-mouth marketing to make sales. Although those still work to this day, the web changed how making and selling vehicles works.

For example, do you know how backup camera systems offer more safety in the vehicles they ride in?

With such a system, drivers are able to do the following:

  • See other drivers – Even a small fender-bender has potential to cause problems. Not only is there damage to one or both vehicles, but injuries can occur at slow speeds. The backup camera system allows the driver going in reverse to see oncoming vehicles.
  • See pedestrians – It is not uncommon for pedestrians to dart in and out of traffic. This is especially the case when they are in crowded parking lots such as stores and malls. The backup camera system assists the driver in locating those that he or she may otherwise miss.
  • See stationery poles and other objects – Stationery objects can present problems too. Hitting a pole or other such object backing up can cause more than a scratch or two to your vehicle. That backup camera system will show you how close you are getting to the object before hitting it.

In using the Internet to promote the brand of vehicles you make or sell, be sure to have a website that offers:

  • Easy maneuverability – If your site is hard to maneuver around, do you expect visitors to stay long? Review your site to make sure you do not have broken links, pages that load too slow, and copy that is as free of errors.
  • Contact info – There is a good chance some visitors to your site have questions about a vehicle and safety. As a result, be sure that you provide them with easy to find contact information. Nothing irritates an online visitor more than when they have to hunt for information.

Socializing the Vehicle Safety Experience

You also want to be sure that you do not miss out on all that social media offers your brand.

Whether a vehicle maker or one selling cars and trucks; use social media to the fullest extent. This will allow you to reach out to the millions of consumers spending time on social media sites.

Among some of the best ones to drive forward with:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Google+

You should also incorporate images and even videos into your posts.

If promoting safety like lane-departure warning systems, include a link to a video. This helps potential buyers of your brand can see how the system can help prevent accidents.

Last, don’t be afraid to interact with consumers when they leave feedback or question on any of your pages.

By having dialogue with consumers, you are more driven to make sales.

 

How to Successfully Market Yourself as a Freelancer

With social media evolving so fast and with the internet changing in the rate it does, it is practically a business suicide not to have some kind of marketing strategy prepared for your business. However, without a steady paycheck and with the constant pursuit for new clients, dealing with the issue of marketing may seem difficult. Marketing yourself as a freelancer may be a bit tricky, but if you focus, plan and organize ahead, you will soon realize just how far a good marketing strategy can take you.

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Create a Strong Online Presence

You cannot simply wait for people to find and hire you. You need to get out there and expand your reach. There is an abundance of industry-specific forums, blogs, and other communities which are great for developing your marketing skills and growing your freelancing network. Engage in social media and try to leave comments on different blogs, or answer questions on forums. Be helpful and and do not spam the users. When you engage with the community in such a way, you help build credibility for yourself and consequently expand your reach.

Do not Neglect the Social Media

Use social media platforms to build a public profile for yourself. Potential clients and employers will have much better chances of hiring you if you are present and active on social media. Having a detailed LinkedIn profile can significantly boost your client rates; using Facebook or Twitter for self-promotion can help you distinguish yourself from others and build a serious freelancing business. Make sure you are out there if you really want to expand your business and market yourself properly.

Build a Team of Freelancers

Try connecting with other freelancers as often as you can. This may not seem important from the marketing aspect of your work, but as far as networking goes, it really is. When you are engaged with numerous freelancers, the number of potential opportunities skyrockets. With strong connections with freelancers in different areas of expertise, you can take numerous projects and expand your client base significantly.

Focus on Referrals and Outsourcing

Referring clients to other freelancers is an amazing practice, and it both helps create a connection between freelancers and helps them expand their businesses. You can even get freelancers to outsource a project for your client through you and vice versa, so you can understand how a strong freelancing team can be very important when it comes to promoting yourself and your skills.

Incorporate Modern Web Design

If you do not have a website in the today’s market, it is as if you don not exist. This is especially the case for freelancers. But simply having a website does not necessarily mean that you are on track to become extremely successful. You must understand your focus group and you must address their needs. In order to do this in the best possible way you need to incorporate great web design.

Mix Marketing With Web Design

When it comes to web design, it can make or break your business. Good web design can really help you step up your marketing game. Whether you’re a genius web designer or someone who doesn’t know anything about it, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow. Keep your website simple, use responsive web design, test everything meticulously and ask for feedback from everyone. These tips have proven to be extremely efficient when it comes to marketing aspects of your website.

Think About Growth Opportunities

Think about the services you provide as a freelancer and think about the clients you have already worked with. Think about what they would like to see, and consider how that fits in your idea of a website. Do some research and check out what other freelancers from your branch of work are doing. With platforms like WordPress and with the power of Google you can soon understand how the world of web design works, or you can always consult a professional and still achieve what you’ve wanted all along – a better way to market yourself.

Put the Thoughts Into Action

Expanding the business is hard, and finding the best marketing strategies may seem like a nightmare, but all you really need is a bit of time and patience. Focus on building your online presence, and try to engage with others as often as you can. Think of the ways how you want to build your career, whether as a successful individual freelancer or as a member of a freelancing team of experts. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your skills, but do it professionally.

How to Choose Your Domain Name for Maximum SEO

Choosing the right domain name is the first and arguably crucial step when launching a website. Your domain name is the flagship of your business, and apart from it serving as a window into your venture, it also needs to be optimized for search engines. Keeping up with the times is important, and those who don’t evolve and adapt to these new trends suffer a huge loss in traffic. So, here are a few guidelines on how to pick the right domain name for your website in order to maximize its SEO.

Keyword Domains

In order to come up with the optimal domain name, you need to take a few things into consideration. First, if you don’t already have a recognizable brand name that can be used as your domain name, you have two options. Either you make a brand name from scratch and then use that as your domain name, or you use some keyword relevant to your business as the domain name. If you opt for the first suggestion, then you need to work on spreading brand awareness over the internet. If you chose the latter, it’s a bit more complex. In the past, keywords were the main thing when it came to domain name SEO, and it’s easy to understand why. Imagine someone looking to buy some healthy food. In the case that you named your domain healthyfoods.com, when this person types ‘healthy foods’ into their Google search bar, it will probably be the first thing to pop up. Nowadays, things are a bit different. In 2012, Google updated its search algorithm, and as a result, keyword domains were no longer the best option. Namely, Google is now more interested in the quality of the content on your website than the keyword in the domain’s name. You can still go for keyword domains if you feel like you don’t have a specific brand name you can use, just make sure that you utilize tools like Google Keyword Planner if you want to find the optimal keyword for your website.

Branded Domains

Today, these domains are greatly preferred by search engines. Not only that, but they have unique names that are a lot easier to remember than keywords. This is why Amazon uses Amazon.com for its domain name and not OnlineShopping.com. The brand is more important than the keyword. Moreover, it is extremely recognizable, which will in turn have much lower bounce rates as people will know exactly what to expect on that website. For example, people searching for Adidas shoes won’t go to Nike.com, right? Apart from being more memorable, branded domain names have clearer backlinks and longer retention times than keyword domains. The main downside of this method is that it takes a lot of time and effort to create a new brand from scratch. You’ll need to do some aggressive marketing on social media and the like to spread your brand awareness enough, so that people can actually recognize your brand. Just make sure that you buy domain name with your brand’s name in it before starting this marketing campaign, unless you want to risk someone else snatching it right under your nose.

Things to Avoid

Now, bear in mind that there are a few things you should avoid at all costs. Using hyphens, for one, is ill advised, as people often forget about them and then go to the wrong site when they don’t type them out. Another downside of hyphens is that they make your site look spammy, as fake sites are notorious for their use of hyphens. They use hyphens to mimic famous domain names like, for example, face-book.com to generate more traffic on their website. Obviously, you don’t want to be associated with them. Similarly, don’t use low-quality TLD’s, which are .biz, .info, .ws and .name. Such extensions are generally shunned by the online community as they too are used by scammers most of the time. Likewise, having a local extension, such as .uk, will rank your website highly in the UK, but not the rest of the world, so using .com is better in both cases. Finally, keeping your domain name under fifteen characters will make it easier for people to remember it and thus reduce the likelihood of typos, as well as making it more SEO friendly overall.

To sum up, if you are choosing between a keyword domain name and a branded domain name, the latter is probably the better option. Moreover, make sure to avoid using hyphens and low-quality extensions in your domain name to disassociate your website from scammers, and use a short memorable name instead.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

Google Says Freshen Up Your Content

While there are – probably – dozens and dozens of ways in which Google likes to rank the content on your website, none of them has become more emphasized than “freshness”. So, in order to get straight into it and not beat around the proverbial bush any longer, here are some of the most important ways in which the god-that-is-Google tends to determine how fresh your content is.

Date Of Inception

Every single web page is going to be valued based on its inception date, something that holds less and less value as time goes on. Just so you know, the inception date is the time when Google first becomes aware of this new content, which tends to happen when the crawlers first detect it on your website or when Google finds a link to this content.

A Matter Of Updating

This is something that has gotten a little bit more attention over recent months. Instead of just rating your content on when it was first uploaded, Google also ranks your content on how regularly it is updated. Content that gets tweaked regularly has more value than content that never changes. Let’s say you go back through your content and change a sentence. Whoop-di-do. However, if you drastically change the main body then you will be having a much bigger impact on this freshness thing.

Frequency Of Changes

Ask those in well-respected SEO services, and they will tell you another huge proponent in the hunt for a better rating is the frequency in which your content gets updates because that is what will keep the Googlebots coming back to crawl your website. Let’s use some examples. Let’s say you have a blog that gets updated once a week as a means to keep your customers in the loop with what you are up to. Okay, that’s once a week something new gets added. Compare that to a major newspaper where their entire body of content gets altered daily and you see which one is more valuable to Google.

New Pages, Please

Another great way to improve the freshness of your website is to create new pages. This is something that a blog manages to do better than anything else because you are not only creating new pages regularly, you are also adding pages that are high in original content. That’s epic. That’s going to get you a freshness score to be super-proud of. You don’t need to go mad on this front, but a new page every so often will have a big impact.

Linking Plays A Lovely Role

Just so you know, the freshness-o-meter is not restricted to your page’s only. It also has a lot to do with the external links that you are using. These tend to wield a lot of power when it comes to measuring freshness. That is why you should always include a cocktail of internal links, outbound links and, if possible, links on external websites that link back to you. Google loves link-building because it makes you look relevant or, to keep with the word we have been using, fresh.

Build A Better Business With Customer Feedback

They say that the customer is always right. Although if you are in sales or the service industry, this can be a tough thing to deal with, especially if they are difficult, picky, or just plain rude. However, it is true that while they might not always be factually correct, they are always right in the sense that they need to be high up the priority list for anyone that is trying to sell. After all, it’s their purchases that pay your wages, so why wouldn’t you try and increase the positivity of their experience? However before you can do this, you will need to seek out those customer’s opinions so you can find out what they really want. With this in mind read on for a guide on sourcing reliable customer feedback that can help you build a better business.

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Surveys

In the modern era, we have unprecedented access to customer feedback. One of the ways business owner can access this is through surveys.

Surveys are usually short questionnaires that include mostly closed questions of the yes/no or degrees of agreement variety. They are designed in this way to make them easier to complete, something that can increase the return rate.

Many companies now use online survey providers that pay rewards in the form of points, vouchers, or even cash to their participants now. This motivates them to actually fill out the surveys, proving more information for the company that is seeking it. This can work exceptionally well because the surveys are quick and easy to do, the participants are motivated, and they can easily access them online making it easy to actually collect the results. After all, who but the most prepared people will return postal surveys?

The Information that is gathered that can be then used to change the product or service you are offering to make it more appealing and so more sellable. Something that can definitely help you to build a better business.

Business adjacent sites

Don’t forget that customer opinions exist in places outside of the more traditional things like surveys too. Unfortunately, many businesses often ignore the importance of comments and articles on sites that are adjacent to their company. These sites are dedicated to users and fans of the company’s brand or product, like this https://netflixupdate.com/star-wars-rebels-netflix/ site for Netflix, and can be very informative to what customers are specifically asking for.

As a business owner, try not to see these sites as troublesome or as an irritation. Instead keep an eye on them, taking in what is trending and what customers are asking for, as this information can all be used to help to further inform your product or service. Something that can enable you to provide more of what people want right now and so help to boost your businesses success.

Reviews

Reviews are another fantastic way of collecting customer feedback that can help you shape your products, customer service, and even your marketing strategy.

Learn from the good as well as the bad!

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Reviews are all about previous customers leaving you feedback on how they found their purchase and their purchase experience online. They can do this through your own review system or through independent services such as the one offered at https://uk.trustpilot.com/categories.

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Using reviews is particularly useful because you are dealing with people that have actually been through your sales system so they will have highly relevant feedback and suggestions that can be used for improvement, a lot of the time.

Of course, extracting the data from these reviews isn’t as easy as it is from surveys. This is because of two factors. The first is that not all reviews are genuine, as some unscrupulous sites offer payment for requested reviews, both positive and negative. Something that can distort the results.

The second issue is that the most valuable feedback often comes from negative reviews, not something that you will be actually aiming to get for your business. In fact, such reviews may even put other potential customers off. That is why it’s so vital to deal with these evaluations in a highly compassionate and non-confrontational manner. Something you can learn about in detail at https://econsultancy.com/blog/.

It’s never too late to say you are sorry!

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In summary, though, the best approach is, to be honest, apologize, say you value their feedback, which can be used to make sure this never happens again and offer recompense. In this way, you can use a lousy review for two useful purposes. One to show that you care about your customers, and the second to show that you are open to changing the way things are run to better accommodate them in line with their feedback. Something that will allow you to build a better and more successful business.

Get More Out of Your Online Business Today

If it feels like your online business is starting to get stuck in a bit of a rut, it’s important to take action to change that. You can’t expect your business to remain on an upward trajectory forever; there are always going to be bumps in the road. It’s how you respond to and handle these bumps that matter. Be proactive and take steps to drive your online business forward and get more out of it today. Here’s how.

Put More In

To get more out of your online business, you first need to put more into it. By putting more into the business, you’ll find that you eventually start to reap the rewards. But more of what? It can be more financial investment, it could be more time or it could be other resources. But don’t let your online business remain static for too long because that never ends well. 

Learn the Value of Analytics

Analytics can’t be ignored any longer. If your online business is not currently making use of analytics tools, that has to change sooner rather than later. There is no getting round the importance of this. So, if you want your company to succeed, start using the right analytics tools. You can approach embedded BI and analytics from many angles. Get informed and work with people who know what they’re doing.

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Consider the Way Your Customers Use Your Site

 Your website should always put the needs and wants of the visitor first. These days, people don’t just sit at their desktop when they want to buy something online or browse your website. Instead, they use smartphone screens and tablets. You need to be aware of these trends and allow potential customers to use and interact with your website in the way they want to.

Improve Scalability

Scalability is one word that you should become more familiar with if you want to push your business in the right kind of direction. This often applies to the logistical side of your business’s operations. You can’t expect your company to keep growing if you don’t know how to scale things up and keep producing strong outcomes. Learn more about this and clean up the logistics that your business relies on each day.

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Cut Out the Middlemen

Middlemen often serve no real purpose. If you have a lot of people acting as intermediaries for your business, you will find that cutting them out and getting to the point saves you a lot of time and energy. There is no need to persist with people that are offering you nothing in the way of value and contributing very little to the success of your online business. Many people feel they’re necessary, but that doesn’t mean they are in practice.

There are so many ways to get more out of your business and help it to grow. These 5 ideas offer you a good starting block. From there, you can develop your own methods to get more out of the online business going forward.