Are you using wordpress for your website content management system or blogging platform? If so you need to read this.
In recent news over the last few days, hackers have been targeting and sucessfully gaining access to wordpress admin panels by brute force. The most common issue is out of date plugins / wordpress files, and simple dictionary based passwords.
So what do you do?
4 easy steps to keep your site secure
- Stop using ADMIN as the username.
If you are using admin, login, create a new user with full admin rights. Then logout as admin, and in as your new user. Delete the old admin username, and assign all posts, content and pages to your new user.
- Use secure passwords
8 – 12 characters long, with upper, lower case letters as well as a number. Using names, birthdays and uniqe spellings can help. Like Thom@s1198 would be secure.
- Keep WP and all plugins up to date.
WP makes this process pretty easy. Regular updates should not take long, and are usually pretty painless. In your apperence > Plugins screen you will see which plugins need updated. And WP core can be updated from the dashboard home screen. Be sure you have a recent database backup before doing these updates.
- Avoid using too many plugins.
Yes, there is always an app for that. There are 100k+ plugins for wordpress. Anyone can write a plugin. Often plugins can leave security holes and cause a drain on the server. Remove any and all unused plugins, and always check the plugin reviews before installing.
Factor1 members: We’ll do this for you automatically. We do these checks often, but will make a special effort this week to keep your site secure.
Not a member? We can perform a full site security scan, which includes a database back up, run all WP core and plugin updates, evaluate all user logins, and remove any and all issues we find. We have a one time fee of $50.
It’s a common dilemma you want to build a fantastic new web presence, but you have many voices in the office competing to be heard and postulating about what will make for the most effective next iteration of your website. A lot of questions get thrown around in brainstorming sessions, but what you might need is a very simple roadmap to make use of all of the opinions and allow key players to weigh in and be heard. Matt won’t brag about it, but he has written some fantastically helpful articles that will aid your team in mining your internal data about what you already know about the web in such a way as to put your thoughts and insights into some groupings that any design or marketing team can use.
And you can also read THIS ONE that Matt outlined and wrote for the author.
If you want to follow up with us to launch or lead your next big project, you can share your team’s findings HERE.
Every team that is deeply involved in the success of your organization possesses valuable knowledge, insights and understandings of your core audience. Don’t leave that data un-mined; put it to work for you and take ownership in communicating about who you are and what you do in a powerful, creative and beautiful way.
Planning a website can be a big task. All the content, users, ideas, and don’t forget the SEO and images.
Pretend your friend Tom just remodeled his house. An amazing kitchen, knocked out down wall and turned a spare bedroom into space for the master bathroom and closet.
Now you see how happy they are, and you want the same thing! Great, you tell your contractor to copy it, and you will be happy. So now you are done, but you remember you don’t need that much closet space, and now you no longer have a home office. And since you would rather just eat out, this bigger kitchen makes coffee and pours a mean bowl of cereal, but thats all it gets used for.
Sure the construction and materials may be top notch, but if the function doesn’t meet your needs who cares, you needed your own solution. It could be made with the finest materials in the world, it still won’t work any better for you.
So don’t approach your website with the same approach. Let’s start with some fresh thinking.
Who uses this site?
Silly question maybe, but really ask WHO. What are your visitors here for? Checking through your site traffic logs may identify key pages and where people spend their time. Maybe it’s research on a product or service, maybe it’s finding your locations, or maybe its to browse and buy your product directly online. Identify the top functions your site must do and do well.
Whats wrong with the old site.
By stepping back and identifying the issues, the pitfalls and things you need changed will help identify HOW they get addressed on the new site. Is it hard to manage? Are the gaps in content and shopping experience? Maybe it’s just out dated and dying.
Knowing the wrong will help identify the right fix.
How should your site work?
Don’t worry about the technical details. How do you think a user should find your site, navigate, and walk away with? Now look at your best customers, what did they do? Did they buy 5 products because the related product widget suggested it? Or did they view your entire portfolio before calling you? This is a harder questions because you may not have specific data to back it up, but knowing what worked for a good customer vs the way you think it should work is key.
How can you simplify?
No one wants to make something more complicated. Adding functions and features often leads to complexity. So in what ways can you expedite the site to fully meet the users needs with less clicks, less searching and less confusion?
Where can we be the best?
Not where can we do what that other site is doing, but where can you be the leader? So often we are asked to simply do what the other guy is doing. This rarely works out well. Recently we had a project for an organization here in Tempe, and they really broke down how their site would be the best site for their mission, vision and audience. They had clear answers on where their site would be the easiest and best communication tool for their organization. This was refreshing. The site is still in development and will be live soon, but its already a great site because they wanted to be the best they could be.
Now that you have some of the first 5 things to work on, you are on your way to crafting a better website.
Want to talk about these questions with a pro? We are here to help. Head over to the contact page and lets us know your answers to these 5 things.
Why these reminders about your website content?
Because content is king!
We are having a lot of fun around here with a new project for one of our longtime client’s, Amy’s VIP Events, because it’s another opportunity to go deeper and help them receive maximum impact on their site, generating more new sales leads than before. A big step forward on this project will be SEO work focused through website content.
Here are 5 things that you need to know about your website content:
- Words matter. There are 1,000′s of webpages not indexed properly with Google and worse yet, 23% of all websites are still coded in flash, making their website content not mobile compatible nor search friendly. Read it straight from apple.
- Your words must be your own. You might be in a market with a lot of common phrases, definitions and terms, but the bulk of your website content needs to be original. Google knows plagiarism and just like in school, when you copy other people’s work it hurts you more than it helps.
- Do Your Research. There is a lot of competition on the internet, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is stiff competition. Chances are very good that you might find a search rearm or two where there is a lot of opportunity because it they are being overlooked for more obvious terms that have many more competitors. Be sneaky and try related SEO terms where your website content can be a winner.
- Stay focused and patient with your words. Believe it or not, everything on the internet isn’t instantaneous. Stay consistent on developing your content using your search terms. Keep writing, some results will come quickly while changes will slowly have impact. It can take up to three months for google to recognize all of your hard work and for your to properly dial things in.
- You are never done. Write, write, re-write, watch your performance, adjust, continue on. Writing good copy is an ongoing process. Keep your site current. Never take down old stuff, but rather archive it or hide it, keeping it live but never gone. Google likes a lot of text and it helps the more pages that you have on the relevant topics you are trying to reach.
A piece of encouragement, writing good copy and content for your website is hard work, so don’t be frustrated if it takes you some time.
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of Amy’s SEO and ad placement results and also some (but not all) of our key processes. Amy’s VIP Events specializes in delivering custom Masters Tours and awesome pricing for daily Masters Badges.
We can make your site perform better too, so contact us!
Strategies vary. So argue if you would like to with this article. What is for certain is that you need to have an online marketing strategy. If you are a non-profit, your strategy is just as important for you as it would be it you were leading a for-profit enterprise.
Here’s the baseline: In order for you to be successful, people need to be able to connect with the core story of what you do.
So, if you run an AC/cooling company, your core products, services, and company characteristics need to be readily and easily available online. If you head up an orphanage in Africa, the same is true for you as well. Give us pictures, insights, compelling, life-change connections to the children that you are caring for. Let us know how by connecting with you that ultimately we are getting the most impact for our dollars. This is an ultra-competitve marketplace. I can get my AC repaired by anyone. Your service, pricing and reputation must be ‘out there’ for us to evaluate. There are hundred’s of non-profit orphanages in Africa that are vying for our dollars. Your organization must be clear and compelling. It’s your story and you want and need us to connect with it
Story telling begins on your website. It’s is the center of your online universe. It is the hub of your wheel. It is what makes everything else goes around. To steal the analogy from this hotly circulated picture (below)… your website is your bakery. Use it to put out the product that you connect all of your social media and advertising portals back to. Central to everything you do is your web real-estate. Make it mobile friendly, simple to read, intuitive to navigate, and have a domain name / url that easy to remember. Keep your content fresh and current. Have purchases or donations be smooth as silk online. Connect, link, reference, promote everything back onto your website.
As we work with many non-profits, we get asked this question quite regularly: “How can we receive donations online?”
After you have received your 501c3 status, these are the steps:
Open a bank account
* Most any bank has electronic services available.
Open a Paypal merchant account
Connect Paypal with your bank account
Here is PayPal’s very helpful FAQ
Take the HTML code from Paypal, insert via HTML editor onto one your your website’s pages
- OR -
This is just one simple way of doing taking in donations online. We hope this helps, but feel free to post your questions in the comment section of this blog.
You heard me. Your business does not need a phone app in the apple or android app stores. More than likely.
Last week, a client of ours was super excited to tell me all about this new web app they are “creating”. By creating I mean they paid some phone app company a set up fee (usually $250 – 500) and $50 a month for. When I asked what the app would do, they rattled off all the amazing features. Features like a home page, news, about us, contact, directions, and product info. So I asked to clarify, that this is indeed an “app”, Yes, they proclaimed! It will be free in the apple and android app stores.
Here is my giant issue. Please hear me very clearly here.
If your app is no more than basic content found on your site, its a waste of time, money and your efforts.
Yes apps are all the rage. All the cool kids are talking about apps. Trust me, no one is going to be browsing the app store, and think to themselves, “sweet! a company I have never heard of has an app about their company / service / product, and its free!”. No, no one will think that.
Save your money, time and app lust. I have a fix for you. Build a site that is mobile friendly. We have a few ways of doing this. One is responsive. Take our site for example. Resize your browser window smaller. Bam! It re-organizes itself to fit the screen size. Navigations get touch friendly, fonts remain clear and readable. Another alternative is a seperate mobile site with the core info, that we have an auto detect script set up on. Basically if the visitor screen size is less than 640px wide, send them to the mobile site. Give them an option back to the main full site. Yes, you can still use a QR barcode to direct people to your mobile site. They can call you, map your location, and learn more all from the mobile web, with no need for an app.
You may have a need for an app. If your idea is functional, helps a user, provides them a beneficial resource for planning, searching, researching, or tracking something. Great, go for it! Verizon has a great app to track my minutes used on my iPhone. Starbucks has a store locator, with info on menus, amenities, and wifi. E-trade has an app to search, research and watch over your trades. Catch my drift here?
Make it useful, keep it relevant, and make it a benefit to your users (not just you). Or dont do it at all.
So we all know I am a geek, and love all things apple. I still give a lot of respect to the others out there. When chatting about tablets, it’s hard NOT to talk about the ipad, but there are plenty of others. A few great android tablets and the HP & Blackberry are pretty solid competitors as well.
So I assumed that the iPad would lose some market share. But per comScore’s May 2011 report, the apple iPad is 97% of tablet web traffic. 97%!!!!! Thats great. I love my ipad, and i know i love surfing on it. But I was really shocked to see the numbers where they are.
So as we push forward with sites we develop, more and more are 100% iPad friendly. Of course we still want to make the others can play nice too, but for sure reaching 97% of the tablet web surfers is our goal.
Is your website tablet friendly? Anyone out there use a non ipad tablet?
Where do you stand where quality counts?
Oxford suits is the only company left in america today that still makes its suits by hand. Seriously by hand. No machines. Can you imagine the hours to sew a single suit?
Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlX9pcBOqT0
Quality, attention to detail, pride in your work. they all matter.
This morning I went to the high school track closest to where I live to put in some speed work as I train for my first marathon. I arrived very early only to find that the track was in complete lock down. Every gate closed, every opening shut, chained and padlocked. Not one soul running. It was frustrating and more so, it was very confusing… I began to ask myself questions like, “Why aren’t any of the school’s athletes out there? Why aren’t other area runners training? What is going on?” So I drove a few more miles down the road to check the next high school. The track was wide open, and sure enough it was packed. There were 50-100 student athletes getting in their before-school training. Area runners were doing speed work. The track was even humming along with a few house moms getting in some circuit training.
So who sets the tone for your desire and drive? Is it the security guard who unlocks the gates? Is it head of the athletic department? Is it the conditioning coach? Or is it the athlete who gets up early to train? You know the answer… each of them do, but the driven athlete will always find a way to train, just like the driven leader will over come obstacles to achieve his goals.
* It shouldn’t surprise you to know that the high school with the closed track was only has a few state titles in it’s history. However, the high school with the open track has many and is considered by some to be the premier academic AND athletic school in the entire state.