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Is Following The Latest Web Design Trends Necessary?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Website owners make it a habit to update their web design to ensure that the style is in season. While there are free themes available to install, the designs that fit your brand’s personality will require you to shell out some cash. When there is money involved, it is important to think things over before deciding on changing the web design. Trends come and go. Does this mean that websites have to keep up with the latest cool trend?

As 2017 comes to an end, website owners are looking forward to giving their websites an overhaul. Indeed a fresh new look gives visitors an element of surprise. In 2017, bold, bright colours were a huge hit. Some trends will still be relevant in 2018 while others have to go. New web designs are meant to provide opportunities to improve especially if the previous designs have any shortcomings that deter the website owner from conveying the brand message to prospects.

Visual format is essential. You need to avoid mistakes or it will result in a high abandon rate. Websites make lasting impressions. Lucky for those that have managed to create a good impression. When visitors have difficulties navigating your website, not seeing enough information that can help them with their buying decision or find the website distracting, you can lose those precious seconds converting leads into sales.

If you have found out about the latest trend in web designs, ask yourself about the areas of your website that you need to improve. You will also need to think about your goals. Do you intend to cater to new audiences? Do you want to incorporate new technologies to make it easier for your audience to access your website? Embracing trends is not just to overcome the fear of missing out. You make use of new trends to improve your website’s usability.

Reasons you need a new website design:

  • Increase the ability of your website to display data
  • Add different forms of virtual information
  • Make website mobile responsive
  • Utilise video and infographics better

On-trend web design and your budget

Although new trends in website design have so much to offer, it does not mean that it will endure. Aside from identifying the goals you want to achieve, you will also need to identify how long your website will cater to your needs without a major rebuild or refresh. When choosing a web design, it is important to work within your budget. There is no need to refresh your web design from time to time  if you only have a limited budget.

What Happens To Your Website When Domain Name Expires?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

A website needs to be up and running all the time so you do not waste time converting visitors into customers. Aside from the physical elements of your website, making sure that you have an active domain name is also important. Once a domain name expires, all the services associated with it will also stop functioning. This means that you cannot make any updates to the domain. Depending on your web host provider, the domain will remain available for reactivation.

Does a domain name enter a grace period after it expires?

Once your domain name expires, it will be disabled, but you will still be able to renew it. Some providers allow renewal at no extra cost. While the domain name has not been renewed, it will enter a grace period. Normally, the grace period is only for 30 days, but it will again be dependent on your web host provider. It is also important to note that there is no guaranteed grace period. Renewal is always given at the end of the current registration period. For instance, if you renew two months early, the expiration date is the same.

Domain going into redemption status

Aside from passing through expiration grace period, your domain will also go into redemption status. The redemption period refers to the period provided after the registrar issues a delete request to the registry. Note that the domain can only be recovered by the previous registrant.

Deleting the domain

After the redemption period, the domain will be placed into a ‘pending delete’ status. During this time, your domain will be given 5-day time frame after the redemption period. The registry will hold the domain and you can no longer recover it. As soon as the domain name is deleted, it will be available for anyone who wishes to purchase a new domain. It will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

Steps To Retrieving A Hacked Website

150 150 Andrew Broberg

The last time you checked your website, it was working perfectly fine, but when you visited it again, you were caught by surprise as hackers have taken over your site. What to do? In this situation, there is no use worrying because you can still retrieve the website. Here are the steps to getting it back:

Inform your web hosting provider

Once you have discovered that your website has been hacked, it is imperative that you let your web host provider know about it. The sooner you inform them, the better. Your provider will also check if other customers are also affected. In the event that your host cannot help you retrieve your website, it is recommended that you get trusted people to do the job.

Quarantine the website

Put your website in quarantine until you are sure that the problem is fixed. While it is normal to worry about your content not reaching your target audience, your website still cannot serve its purpose. The DNS entries must be placed on a static page where 503 HTTP is used as a response code. You may also need to take your website offline. Be sure to review your administrator account as hackers often create their own account and delete your credentials.

Know the severity of the attack

Some hacking can be damaging to your website while others can be retrieved through a minor fix. Before taking any major steps, make sure that you have figured out the extent of the attack. Hackers can work their way into your website by infusing spammy content, dispersing malware and employing less suspicious techniques.

Check the files

You will also identify the maximum damage that the hacker has done to your website if you are going to check for the file system. It happens to the website and file system modification process. Check the files you have modified or created. You will need to check the server error logs as well. There might be some dubious activities going on that you might not be aware of such as failed login attempts. Files for redirects and configuration must also be checked.

Clean your website

A website that has experienced hacking must be constantly cleaned and updated. You will need to install security software that will add layers of protection to your website. There are also support sources that will help you deal with the loss of confidential information especially if you are a victim of phishing. Remove URLs created by hackers if there is any. It is also important to note that removal of pages must be done carefully as you might remove good pages. Only get rid of pages that you do not want to appear in search results.

Domain Name:More Than Just Your Website’s Identity

150 150 Andrew Broberg

When you start a new business, you need to register a domain name as it will represent your business on the internet. Even your customers will base their first impression on your domain name. It will give them an idea what you do and what you are offering. When building an online space,  choosing a suitable domain name is imperative.

There are three ways you can use your domain name:

Building a website

In growing your business, you need an effective tool so you can be exposed to many marketing opportunities. Your website establishes your online credibility. This is why it is necessary to create a website that shows what you have to offer. It is also imperative that you maintain your website. There are web hosting providers that also offer bundled services including web hosting, domain name and design templates.

Most websites that provide professional services will include the general information, contact information, product/service information, customer testimonies and social media icons. For those who prefer to open an online store, it is important to include multimedia or videos. You can also add some e-commerce capabilities so you can process payments, take orders and even provide customer support.

Brand your social media presence

Another way you can use your domain name is when you use social media to improve your online presence. One way you can change it is by using your domain name as the web address for your business page. This method is referred to as web forwarding. Using your domain name as web address will make it easy for your prospects to remember your brand. You can use your domain name for web forwarding by logging into your account. You can then change the settings on your domain name.

Set up a unique email address

You can also use your web address as an email address. If you have a company-branded email address, you will be able to have a professional-looking branded channel which you can use for communicating with your target audience.  A company-branded email address is considered as a free marketing strategy. All you need is to register your domain name so you can set up your email address.

How to promote your domain name?

Once you have registered your domain name, you can start building your brand by adding it to social media platforms. It will be easier for your customers to find you this way. You can also include your web address on your business cards, email signatures, ads, brochures, newsletters and uniforms.

SSL Certificate: Are All Websites Required To Use It?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

The increasing number of cyber threat cases signals website owners to zero in on security to ensure that cyber attacks are reduced if not completely removed. Hacking is a monumental concern because hackers are good at devising plans to work their way into our websites and steal our information. It is already too late to realize that we have fallen prey to their schemes. The use of SSL certificate is considered by experts as one way to combat cyber threats and attacks. It gets our websites secure and filters suspicious activities. How does SSL certificate become beneficial to website owners?

HTTPs: In a nutshell

For us to know the benefits of SSL certificate, it is important to understand how HTTPs work. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This is a type of protocol used by web servers and browsers as a way of transmitting data or communicating to one another. An HTTP command is sent when a website address is entered into the address bar. HTTP gets the website we wish to access.

SSL, on the other hand, stands for Secure Socket Layer. It is a method of encrypting data while travelling through the Internet. It ensures that the private information that users or customers provide will not be compromised. Private information such as credit card details or passwords entered on e-commerce websites are going through different servers and networks before it goes to the right destination.

During this process, hackers attempt to intercept the user’s private information. However, if the network is encrypted, the data being transmitted will be difficult to read, hence, it prevents hackers from stealing sensitive or confidential information. Using SSL certificate on your website gives users or customers the confidence that your website can be trusted and their personal information is protected.

HTTPS websites: The New Norm

The recent policies in web browsing have allowed users to check if their connection to the website is secure especially when attempting to access any non-HTTPS websites on the browser. Use Chrome or Firefox and it will let you experience these changes to web browsing. This is beneficial to customers because it prevents hackers from manipulating sensitive information. E-commerce websites are making sure that visitors feel comfortable leaving their shipping or billing details. We will even notice that if you happen to stumble upon an insecure website, the browser will give us a warning indicating that the connection is not private. The message occurs if an HTTPS website does not have SSL certificate.

SSL is deemed essential to websites to protect user authentication, financial records, private data and other confidential information. If you have an e-commerce website, websites with login forms, membership sites, HTTP2-powered sites or blog sites, the use of SSL certificate is highly recommended.

How to identify if a website is SSL-secured?

Arm yourself with knowledge when accessing sites. We can tell a website is SSL-secured if the URL on the address bar starts with HTTPS. When it is highlighted in GREEN it signifies that the connection is secure. There is also a green lock icon found on the top corner of the browser’s address bar. It is also interesting to note that there are websites that have the HTTPS in the address but do not have a green lock in the address bar. It could mean that the SSL certificate is not yet provided. It is also important to check if a website has a security seal as this verifies the identity of the website once the seal is clicked.

Measures Taken By Companies To Stop Data Breaches

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Data breaches have made a negative impact on our lives. No one is immune to these hacks unless we prepare arm ourselves with layers of protection. Imagine letting these hackers go unnoticed. It will surely have a ripple effect on both our personal lives and our economy. Aside from hitting the stock market, we will also be forced to monitor our online activities closely so we do not fall prey to cyber criminals.

It is inevitable for us to rely on modern technology. This is why data breaches become possible. Each day, we rely on mass quantities of interaction, internet-based storage and the like. The possibility of data breaches increases the more we connect and rely on data. Fortunately, many companies no longer remain complacent because hackers can strike anytime, anywhere. This means that the efforts of improving security standards have been taken. Preventive measures have also have put in place. As we always say, prevention is far better than cure. Here’s why companies must focus on preventive measures:

The Importance of Prevention

There is a great difference when companies take necessary measures to prevent a data breach from happening. One obvious reason to provide our organisation with increased data protection is to prevent spending hundreds of millions to repair the damages brought by data breaches. More often than not, we see companies more focused on cure than prevention. Worse, some of them are even investing in the wrong areas and it is already too late to discover that the organisation is vulnerable to hackers.

Companies should include the following preventive efforts:

Better Technology-The level of technology that most companies use can either protect or expose them to threats. There are companies that are satisfied with the minimum level of security and protection. Installing firewalls and antivirus software is not enough unless we opt for more sophisticated technology. We also need to keep in mind that it takes extra effort and time to invest in high levels of protection.

Employee Awareness-Hacks and breaches are not just due to forced entries. Some of them are due to human negligence and errors. Employees do play a vital role in making sure that hackers are not given the chance to make an entry. For instance, choosing a weak password and not developing a habit of changing it regularly will result in falling victim to phishing scam. This alone can put the entire company at risk. The good news is human errors are preventable. We need to educate our employees about the negative implication of choosing a weak password and how following best security practices can prevent breaches.

Response Plans-While we always put more emphasis on prevention rather than response, it is still important to have a back-up plan when all else fails. Having a breach response plan ensures that our company is prepared for any form of cyberattack. The response plans give our companies the direction for stopping the attack and preventing breaches from happening again.


Why Is Your Website Not Getting Enough Visits?

150 150 Andrew Broberg

People visit or leave your website for a reason. When people visit, it means they are interested in the products or services your company wants to offer. Some website owners invest in making sure that the website looks presentable and pleasing to the eyes without realizing that there are other aspects that must be kept in mind. There are four reasons people leave your website:

1. Takes 3 seconds or more to load

Slow websites drive people away. It is estimated that 40% of visitors are more likely to leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. There are many reasons for the slow speed such as too large images, scripts, HTML and CSS. This problem can be resolved by ensuring that the sizes are kept to a minimum. Crazy animations can also contribute to slow loading time. Your web host provider has to do with the slow speed as well. Make sure you check your website speed regularly and change host if you are not getting a reliable web host.

2. Lack of graphic element and readability

Not everyone visiting your website can navigate it with ease. Before designing your website, make sure that you do not miss out on site navigation. Expect some visitors who are not familiar with navigating the website. If they are not sure how to use your website, they will choose to leave it instead. When thinking about the design of your website, you will also have to think about its functionality. Your website should be simple, clear and professional.

3. Not mobile responsive

Since everyone is using their smartphones for online transactions, it is imperative that your business does not fall behind the digital trend. If your website is not mobile responsive, there is a greater chance for your audience to abandon your website. They will move on to another source that offers mobile responsive website. It is important to take your audience’s mobile needs into consideration so you can create a responsive mobile design.

4. Not updating blog posts

Regular visitors want to stay updated by reading on your website. If they do not see anything new, they are less likely to stay. This is why you need to update your content frequently so visitors will know that you keep them engaged. With regard to the frequency, think about the type of niche you have and the audience you are trying to target. You will be able to have a loyal reader when they have something to look forward to on a regular basis.

Reasons Your Website Is Loading Slow

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Several studies have revealed the importance of web performance when it comes to converting leads into sales. These studies show that 40% of visitor abandon a site when a webpage takes longer than three seconds to load. For e-commerce websites, online shoppers can get frustrated when they experience loading issues and may not return to purchase again. A website that loads slow can lose conversions even if it is only a difference of few seconds. Here are 5 reasons your webpage takes longer to load:

1. Unoptimised Images

Heavy image size, using a lot of server resources can affect your website. The good news is, this problem can be addressed by reducing the image size. In most cases, reducing the size of your image will also mean losing its pixel quality. There are tools that allows you to make changes to the size without affecting its quality.

2. Server Configuration

Problems of slow loading are also due to bad server configuration. A hosting plan that you are currently subscribed with usually has features that allow you to compress so you can run multiple sites on a single server. You will have improved performance because these features allow you to send and receive many HTTP requests. You will no longer need to open a new connection in this case every time you receive or send each and every request.

3. Extra Plugins and Themes

It is possible that your website loads slowly because of unwanted extras. If your dashboard is overloaded with themes, plugins and comments, it is important to remove them to speed up your website. You will also have to clear unnecessary lines of code such as HTML, CSS and JS. They can also contribute to your website’s poor performance.

4. Too Many Social Media Scripts

Your website enables sharing options so to allow users to share your posts. However, it can have a negative effect on your website if all the sharing options are loaded. Make sure you only have enough social media scripts on your website to avoid killing your website’s performance.

5. JavaScript and CSS files

You may not be aware that you have a lot of JS and CSS files on your website. When there is an increase in the number of requests, it can also result in slowing your website. As much as possible, you should try minimising the use of JS and CSS files. There are hosting plans that provide an option to minimise JS and CSS. Doing this creates a dramatic change to your website’s performance.

The Basics Of Building A Website

150 150 Andrew Broberg

There are free website builder services that you can use for building your own website, but when the time comes that you want one to go live, you need to think about the initial costs involved because you will need more than just free website builders. A lot of beginners are afraid of investing in paid website builders. This is why turning to services that will not tie you to a monthly fee is very appealing.

The problem with free services is that they have limited features. As your business expands, your needs also increase and a basic website is not enough. There are 3 essential elements that a website needs before it goes live:

1. Domain Name

A domain name provides identity to your website. Imagine memorising a string of numbers every time you visit a site. They are not easy to remember especially if you have a lot of websites to visit. A domain name is required when building a website. The name you choose must be related to your brand and business.

In the event your domain name is not available, you will need to choose another domain or acquire it from its current owner. With regard to domain acquisition, you will need to spend a vast amount of money. For starters, registering an available domain saves you from spending more. For businesses that are keen on building online reputation, getting a specific domain is recommended.

2. Web Host Service

Once you have registered a domain you will need a provider to host your website. The hosting packages on offer will vary from provider to provider. Choosing can be tricky as there are many options to consider. Some of the notable features to consider include uptime percentage, disk space and customer support. Businesses that are launching a professional operation are advised to go for a large web hosting package. It is also advised to base choices more on the hosting features rather than the price. If you only intend to run a basic website, a basic package will suffice. It  usually offers 1 GB of disk space.

3. File Transfer Protocol

Your web host provider also offers you an option to upload information once you get access to cPanel, where you will need to set up an FTP or File Transfer Protocol. When uploading files, you will need to navigate to a particular folder. Most of these applications are pretty straightforward. Once you log in, you will be able to see the website’s folder structure.

How To Choose The Right Web Host To Boost Your Marketing Efforts

150 150 Andrew Broberg

Website owners have many reasons for creating a website and one of the most common ones is for marketing purposes. With a website, you will be able to increase brand awareness as customers will be able to find you. It is also through your website that you can showcase what you can offer to customers and why prospects should choose you. Once you create your website, you will be confronted by many decisions including the design and functionality, content and even search engine optimisation. Aside from these elements, business owner must also focus on actual hosting.

As you do your research and discover relevant information, there are other aspects of web hosting that you need to keep in mind. With that said, comparing apples with apples is essential.

Uptime and Security Guarantee

When it comes to selecting the right website host, you should find out what the hosting company’s uptime guarantee is. Customers do not like to experience an error message or blank screen every time they visit your website. Choose companies that can guarantee an uptime of at least 99%. Aside from uptime guarantee, you should also take security guarantee into consideration. With data breach and cyber attacks being a huge issue these days, businesses must add layers of protection to protect websites from being the next target. It is also imperative to protect customers’ information such as email addresses, credit card numbers and passwords.

Back Up For Site Content

You may encounter problems, which may result in deleting important data from your website. Whether it is caused by a hacking issue or a mistake from your end, having a hosting company that ensures your data is backed up should be your priority. Although the process can also be done without the web hosting company’s assistance, you may not have enough time at your disposal to handle the task on a daily basis.

Scalable Plan

As your business grows, the company you sign up for must also have the ability to scale with you. A hosting provider with different levels of service on offer enables you to upgrade over time. It will also be a huge help if you choose providers that will allow you to change plans without charging any exit or cancellation fees. There are companies that give you options to change up or down based on your needs. If you need more bandwidth, an upgrade should not cost you an arm and a leg.

Customer Support

Your website may not always be up and running and a reliable customer support that you can get a hold of 24 hours a day is essential. A customer representative who can get any problems sorted out quickly will prevent any issues, which may take place while you are having an ad run or send an email newsletter.