Create a Secure Password

Create a Secure Password

We are constantly hearing about data breaches and stolen passwords. Therefore, we are constantly having to create new, stronger passwords and more often.  Every website or software product we use requires a strong password and the minute you set it up you know you won’t remember it. You can’t (or shouldn’t) write it down, and if you use a laptop don’t let your browser save your password or someone could get access to it. It can be a huge hassle coming up with secure passwords that you can remember.

A few factors to remember when creating passwords

Make it long – 15 characters or more 

Mix it up – Using a mix of characters (upper and lower), numbers, and symbols

Avoid common substitutions – Everyone knows to try a 0 in place of an o like in Passw0rd.

Avoid memorable keyboard paths – qwerty is an example of a keyboard path

February 1st was #ChangeYourPassword Day and I created this quick tip video:

The example in the video really needs a few more characters but you get what I’m saying.

I use the free version of LastPass to store my passwords and highly recommend it. It makes keeping up with the many passwords I use daily so much easier. I have a 17-character password to my LastPass account that I can easily remember because of the little trick in my video. With LastPass that is the only password I need to remember because it remembers all the rest!

Clearing Your Browser History and Cache –Why it’s Important

Clearing Your Browser History and Cache –Why it’s Important

We are spending more and more time online and have more usernames and passwords than we can possibly keep up with. With all the hacking and phishing going on you should be using more than one password for all these online accounts.

Browsers retain information as you surf websites and could eventually cause problems with logging in or loading websites. You should try to get into a habit of clearing your cache, browser history, and clearing the cookies on a regular basis.

The drawback to clearing this is that your saved usernames and passwords will be deleted, and you’ll need to re-enter them the next time you try to login. But by clearing cookies and cache, your privacy is more secure, and your browser will work better.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on your computer by the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) while you are browsing the internet.  Cookies remember certain information, such as items added to your cart, or record your browsing activity, log ins, or pages visited. They are also responsible for remembering your name, address, password or credit card information so you don’t have to enter it every time you complete a form or make an online purchase.

Each time you pull up that same website, the browser sends the cookie back to the website with all the info from the last visit. Browser cache is usually overwritten when you reach a certain amount but will store information about your browsing history until you clear it.

If you’re your favorite website isn’t letting you log in, or isn’t loading correctly, is showing an error, or you think you might be seeing an older version of the site, try clearing your cookies.    It’s also a good practice to be sure you are also using the latest version of your browser.

What is a browser cache?

When you visit a website, your browser captures certain assets of the site and stores them on your computer’s hard drive. Some of the assets your browser will store include, images, logos, and the websites style coding.

Browsers cache what are known as “static assets”, which are parts of a website that do not change from visit to visit. This is also why your web designer might tell you to clear your cache after making changes to your website so the new assets will show correctly.

Some website pages will take longer to fully download and become functional because they have a lot of pieces or their assets are large. That’s why you may notice that when you first click on a page, the text appears before the images. That’s because text is small and takes less time to load, while a high-resolution image, or many images, will take longer.

Caching speeds up browsing. Once you’ve downloaded an asset, it stays on your computer for a time. Retrieving files from your hard drive is faster than retrieving them from a remote server, which is where the website lives, no matter how fast your Internet connection.

Click on the browser you use below to see the instructions clearing your browser cookies and cache:

Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Internet Explorer
Edge
Safari

Send me your tech questions and I will be glad to answer them!

How long does it take to build a website?

How long does it take to build a website?

How long does it take to build a website is one of the first questions clients ask when inquiring about a new website. The answer….it depends. Often when a potential client comes to us all they have is the product or service they want to sell, and maybe a business name.  Other times they know exactly what that want and are ready to start building.   

These are all contributing factors to determining the length of time it can take to build a website:

  • Domain name – The client will need to know the name of their business and have a registered domain name.
  • Web hosting – Some clients only need a smaller hosting package if the website is basically for information purposes only, while those with ecommerce or membership sites need something that can handle storing and processing more content, sometimes with high resolution images and/or lots of traffic.
  • Branding – We will need to know what colors you want to use and your logo. Having this before we start is key, so we don’t have to go back and change it at a later time.
  • Images – We provide stock images,however we do recommend that you have some custom images created that will help set you apart from other businesses. You want to stand out from the crowd. 
  • Copy – Your website copy is important in the conversion process, getting people to go from a possible client to actual signed client. This is one of the reasons you need someone who knows how to write copy that will sell your product or service. We do not offer this service but can recommend someone who does.

Without these items there is no way to determine how long it will take to get your website live. If you do not have these items ready, we can certainly help walk you through it. If you have everything listed above, then the site can be ready for your first review in about four days.

Read more about our website services and let us know when you are ready to start building!

Options to consider when creating a website

Options to consider when creating a website

I could go on and on about creating a website but for the sake of this post let me just hit the high notes. It’s time to get your website up and running so you start marketing. But what platform do you use? Let me say that almost any platform you decide on now will be responsive, meaning mobile friendly, and have drag and drop building options if needed. I still highly suggest using WordPress so let me share with you my reasons.

Platforms

WordPress has almost limitless options for themes, plugins, and integrations. With other platforms you are limited to using only the services they have chosen for you such as shopping cart integration and automated marketing platforms. Squarespace for example only integrates with Mailchimp, not Constant Contact, GetResponse, Aweber, InfusionSoft, etc.

With the limitations placed on you by the different platforms, you may not get the functionality you want. You will look at other websites and say, “why can’t I do that?”. The main reason will be because that other website is built on WordPress with its many choices.

Hosting

You do have to choose a hosting platform with WordPress which is different from the way other site builders work. However, this choice allows you to save money by comparison shopping, but remember, you get what you pay for. The least expensive option is not always the way to go. I highly recommend SiteGround for your service and choosing the WordPress Hosting. They have a wonderful track record for uptime, support, and reliability.

After choosing a platform and a hosting service, we can look at themes. No matter what platform you decide to use, there will be a theme that is perfect for you, even if it needs a little customization. Any platform will allow you to choose your own branding. Your logo, colors, your own “voice”. Your website is where you can express what you (or your business) is all about.

Website Aesthetics

Do some research by looking at websites of your competitors. See what they are doing and make note of the things you like and dislike. People are no longer taking the time to read everything on your site. Visuals are extremely important. There are several websites that offer free images and please take advantage of those. However, I do suggest purchasing a few more prominent images that you will be using on your site. You don’t want the same images everyone else is using. You want to stand out.

When it comes to text, the easier it is to scan, the better it is. This means bolding words and phrasing that you want to stand out and using lists and bullet points so it’s easier for people to see the main points that you want to get across.

On your home page, you need an eye-catching image, and an optin for with a lead magnet (freebie), your social media icons which should be near the bottom (so people don’t immediately click away from your site), and you want to be sure your contact information is easy to find. Yes, you will have a contact page but ideally your email and phone number should be on every page.

Your home page should be very clear on the product or service you offer. People will not dig around on your site to figure it out, they will immediately click away and go somewhere else if they can’t find the information they want fast enough. Your website should have a clean and uncluttered look.

While WordPress and its many choices may seem intimating at first, you will be glad you chose it in the long run. Especially if after a couple of years, your business is growing and you need to make changes and step up your game. With WordPress, you won’t need to switch platforms to accommodate your new needs. If you feel like hiring someone to build your first WordPress website is what you should do, then do it. Other platforms may seem easier and less expensive at first, but their limitations will cost you more in the long run because they do not grow with you as a business.

We have really just touched on the basics in this post. Schedule a consultation to discuss building a website in more depth at a time that is convenient for you.

Watch for next week’s blog when we talk about setting up your social media platforms!

The Benefits of Landing Pages

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear must be “What is a landing page?” immediately followed by “What are the benefits of a landing page?”  A landing page is a webpage that you land on after clicking on a hyperlink. However, the definition goes a little deeper when discussing landing pages as a marketing tool.

When we talk about landing pages in marketing, we are usually referring to a webpage that has been designed to focus solely on a single objective. The reason it focuses on a single objective is so that potential customers will also focus solely on that one thing.  No distractions of sidebars or a navigation menu that can potentially take them away from the page with your intended conversion goal. Landing pages are basically really short versions of sales pages.  So why should you use one?  Simply put, they increase your conversion rate.

Landing pages are generally used for inbound advertising campaigns. Most often you will see a landing page when you have clicked on an ad or a social media post if the business is trying to get your attention for a specific product or service. Using dedicated landing pages allow you to project a different voice for different products, unlike your home or services pages where you are trying to address several things. Even though your voice may differ on your landing pages, your overall branding should remain the same.

Another benefit of using landing pages is that it’s easy to split test different pages to see which gets the most conversions.  Sometimes small changes in text or images will make all the difference between a successful campaign and a not so successful one.

When creating a landing page, there is a basic anatomy they all have in common:

  • A primary headline that matches the ad or post you used to get people to click on.
  • A supporting headline
  • The hero image or video. (According to eyeviewdigital.com, using video on landing pages can increase conversion by 80%.)
  • Short and concise content. Utilizing bullet points allows you to convey more information in a smaller space.
  • A call to action that is big and bold.
  • Social proof – One or two testimonials, optional
  • Another CTA is optional
  • A closing statement

Even though landing pages are kept fairly simple, you can take a little more creative license with background images, arrows pointing to relevant information, and colors. But remember, the main goal is to have the prospect focusing on your product, so don’t go too crazy!

Usually after I finish answering the first two questions above, I hear “Can you create one for me?”.  My answer is always YES!