The internet is useful for a variety of reasons, from tracking down information to managing your finances. As you may expect, it also has a number of dangers hidden beneath the surface. The following is just a handful of some of the internet's biggest dangers.
As technology has grown in complexity, thieves have found a myriad of ways to take unsuspecting individuals and even businesses for a ride. From identity theft to phishing emails, the internet is rife with fraud. There are even websites that masquerade as legitimate ones for the purpose of obtaining customers' login information. Depending on how many of your customers' accounts are affected, this could potentially mean millions in losses from fraudulent charges and customer refunds.
One disturbing type of cyberbullying is called doxxing. When someone doxxes someone else, it means that they find and publish sensitive information about them, including personal phone number and home address. This information potentially allows others to masquerade as the victim online to receive credit cards, obtain loans, open bank accounts and more in the victim's name. If your company lends money to customers, you could potentially lose out on interest payments if the victim did not actually apply for those credit cards or loans.
Businesses can be victims of doxing as well. Some famous examples of corporate doxing include the Ashley Madison breach and the film thefts carried out against Sony Pictures. If your company's sensitive information is stolen and leaked to the public, it could potentially cut into sales, lead to class-action lawsuits, loss of customers due to lack of trust and much more. Depending on the industry, it could even lead to the business closing entirely.
Hacking and Viruses
This is more what people think of when they think of online dangers. It's a bit of a classic at this point: someone takes control of your computer, and you have no control over it. These days, it isn't enough to just be careful what websites you visit. Antivirus software is also a must, including at the corporate level.
What separates these two things is how they work. Hacking is a result of people finding flaws in existing, legitimate programs or company mainframes, which you use every day to conduct business. Viruses, on the other hand, are programs explicitly written to harm your computer system, and they take on many forms. They can even impersonate or "hide" within legitimate programs.
Ransomware is a specific kind of program that locks access to a computer and deletes all the files within it unless the victim pays a ransom, often in some form of cryptocurrency. It can be removed, but it is paralyzing if it somehow gets on your system. This is not a common occurrence, but ransomware's appearance has been steadily increasing. If ransomware were to spread to computers with sensitive information, it could grind your business to a complete halt. For example, how would you correspond with a supplier if you have a store chain? Without that contact information or internet access, it would be next to impossible.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is not a threat on its own. In fact, your business might offer or use a product that falls in this category. Think internet-enabled televisions, fax machines, printers, cameras, smart watches, and similar equipment, and that is essentially the Internet of Things.
Why is it dangerous? Because, according to the FTC, 25 billion such devices are online worldwide, with the number growing daily. These devices, which record a variety of sensitive information, can be hacked and the information stolen. This could be a disaster for a business of any size because customer data, correspondence, and contact information are just a few of the things that could potentially be jeopardized.
How Do I Protect My Business?
Protecting your business from these online threats is equal parts awareness and scrutiny. Educate your employees about the practices thieves employ, such as impersonating technical support and asking for a password. Also, tell your employees to scrutinize - or, even better, delete - anything unfamiliar in terms of communication. If it comes from outside the company somehow, and it doesn't look like it belongs in your correspondence, it may be a scam.
Also, take the time to invest in skilled IT personnel that can counter and eliminate these threats as they arise. Penetration testers are one example of personnel you should have on hand because they seek out flaws in your company's network. This allows the appropriate staff to address the problem sooner rather than later.
Digital Media And Your Website
When designing your website, you want content that will catch the attention of your viewers. It's always in the best interest of your website to operate smoothly, whether you are writing captivating articles, promoting a product, selling professional services, or building traffic for affiliate marketing companies.
Search engine optimization and effective keywords play the important role of bringing customers to your content, but you likewise need a polished design to engage viewers. Adding digital media in the form of images or videos can be a great stepping-stone for your business.
Let's go over a few easy steps to ensure that your high-quality traffic is greeted with an equally high-quality page layout. Find out ways you can get a better conversion rate with an efficiency-oriented approach.
How To Use Images
There are three primary sources through which website designers acquire most images. The first and easiest is by going through a copyright-free online source. There are millions of images available online that are copyright free, and most of those images don't require any citations or credits to the photographers. Secondly, you have paid images which you can purchase the rights to, either per-use or permanently. These images are typically of a higher quality than the free-to-use media.
Lastly, you can hire a professional photographer directly which will give the advantage of very specific or personalized images. Directly hiring a photographer works well when building a brand specific domain.
Usually, depending on your host and software, images can be integrated with HTML coding through a third-party host address, or uploaded directly to your site and encoded into your postings. Keep in mind that you should ensure links are never altered to reduce broken links and dead pages.
When uploading pictures directly on your domain, include relevant keywords in the image descriptions and include a similar alternate description to increase your SEO scores. When incorporating images into your postings, you should always include a clickable hyperlink in the embedded images to relevant pages within your site.
How To Incorporate Video
Similar to images, videos can be obtained through third-party companies or made directly through contracting with a video editor. Several media companies have easy-to-use web integration built into their players, which can make creating your own content extremely low-cost.
You can upload video directly to your domain or allow a third-party hosting site to host your video for you. In order to reduce data usage for your domain, you should always consider outsourcing your hosting. Be vigilant with your outsourcing. A broken or removed video can go unnoticed if an error occurs, or if it is removed from the host site.
Also, keep in mind that different video players a host may utilize can have various load time efficiencies. Occasionally test your pages in order to provide the reliable content your customers expect. The last thing you want is a great landing page with unplayable video content. Avoid looking unprofessional with diligent page reviews.
How To Improve Load Time And Reduce Data Usage
Search engines base their ranking scores on several factors, including cross-links, keyword density, readability, and load time. If your page takes more than a second or two to load, consider optimizing your pages. This can be achieved by reducing the size of photos and videos. If you find your page falling short of fantastic efficiency, consider reducing the frequency of which your media content appears on a single page, or decreasing the file sizes. Images and textures tend to be the main issue with page optimization. Avoid high-resolution, full-scale images in your content while keeping a tasteful tone to your website.
Most web design software comes with built-in preview features for multiple platforms including tablets, internet browsers, and mobile browsers. Be sure to check the efficiency of each one to safeguard an overall smooth speed across devices. As a rule of thumb, upload images and videos at around 60 percent quality level in regards to the original content size, because optimized images lower load time. Keep thumbnails at a low resolution to avoid browser lag. Use a high speed third-party hosting site with automatic resolution settings for viewer-friendly video performance.
Meet your Traffic With Quality
However you decide to use these guidelines to build your website, the presentation is the key. Whether it's through content, eye-catching photos, enticing videos, or a smooth loading experience, your prospective followers should be greeted with a professional ambiance. You can up this professionalism with having chat on your website to help your customers reach out to you more easily. Just remember that most customers refuse to patronize a business that has been unresponsive for 24 hours. Remember when adding any type of new tech to your website, that you know how to use it and that you use it well.
All of the features of your pages work together to generate conversion from traffic, towards profit. Using your skills and creativity you can accomplish your goals, and achieve the atmosphere you need to win the attention of your target audience. For more information on how a well-designed website can improve the rankings and search engine optimization of your website, please contact Crawford Designs!
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Your organization's logo identifies who you are. It indicates how the public should perceive your product or service. Developing a brand identity, then, should be a well thought-out process, not just something done on a whim. A logo is the cornerstone of defining the look and feel of your brand, which needs to be consistent across your online and offline presence. Here are a few tips to guide you in developing the best logo possible.
Examine the Competition
The first step in developing a brand identity is examining what your competition is doing. Look at brand marks from companies who sell products or services similar to yours. Consider the primary elements of your competitor's design and the implications it has on how you or others perceive what they do or sell.
What typography does the competitor use? Does the font relate to the what the company is trying to sale? Is the font easy to read, too small or too large, or distracting? Typography should be both functional (i.e., name the company) and technical (i.e., help to tell their overall brand story). In developing your brand identity, you'll want to choose fonts and typography that not only tells who you are but also shows how your product or service will impact the customer.
What adjective would you use to describe the colors used in the symbol? What mood or feeling does it give? Color plays a unique role in brand design, and often creates certain psychological responses based on how it's used. You'll want to select colors that elicit a positive response from your audience.
What types of imagery does the competitor's symbol use? Does the imagery match the brand's function? Imagery can be either concrete or abstract, but it must always convey a sense of what it is you're offering. If you choose to add imagery to your brand identity, be sure it advances your overall story in an intuitive way.
As you design your logo, consider what you're going to be using it for. Is it going to be going on your website? Business cards? Products? Product packaging? A sign? A logo that looks great front and center on your website might not look too great as a tiny product stamp. Or maybe a tiny product stamp is not detailed enough to call attention on a big sign. As you start putting the elements of your logo together, make sure that it creates cohesion in every element of your business.
Don't Go It Alone
Branded design requires a careful, disciplined approach. Luckily, there are people who build careers around helping businesses and individuals develop an artistic representation of what they do. Reach out to a trained, professional graphic designer who can help you bring your vision to life. Look for a designer who:
You have been brainstorming some ways to beef up your advertising efforts to better reach your target market. What you need here are digital advertisements that are both appealing and convincing to your audience. There are a few tried and true techniques that will help you to get more out of your digital ads and increase your MLM sales. Here are five tips that can change the way you approach digital advertising for the better.
1. Tighten up Your Wording
Long ads are a big turn off to today's online marketplace. Most people online do not like being advertised to as it is, so smart advertisers need to think short and sweet when constructing digital ad copy. The idea of less is more is what online ads should be modeled around for reaching consumers with a broader appeal.
2. Catchy Is Golden
Not only should your ad copy be short and sweet, but it should also be catchy. Think of one line ads that you get in your head, and they resonate all day. That is what good ad copy should do to your visiting traffic. This is why advertisers often think in terms of jingles.
3. Know Your Market
Every ad is aimed at a specific segment of the market: your particular audience. To target the right market, you have to have a mental picture of who the ideal customer is that you are trying to reach. If you do not have this mental image, you are writing ad copy that is at best stabbing in the dark. When you can picture in your mind who your ideal customer is, then you will be able to write to that segment of the consumer base that would be the right fit for your products.
4. Pictures Are Powerful
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a powerfully taken picture means even more. Make your product look larger than life in the image, and it will give the impression that your customer is getting a lot for their money. Make your product look distant and small, and your digital ad will provide the opposite reaction.
5. Videos Bring Life to Your Products
Your site should contain videos of people using your products and be having loads of fun doing so. Seeing other people using your products is a high selling point because it gives the products a bit of rapport with the viewing audience. Seeing people having the time of their life using your products, well that puts the entire advertising appeal on steroids. Most consumers want to have fun, and if they have to pay for a product to have this kind of fun, they will.
To breathe new life into your ad copy and digital ads, you will need to try out some of the tips mentioned above. The less annoying and more attractive your online digital ads are to the segment of the consumer base you are marketing to, the easier it will be to convince people to try your products. You have a lot of marketing tools at your disposal, and you should not be afraid to use them to obtain the marketing success you desire.
You don't have the option of putting out a dull, run-of-the-mill website anymore. An ugly site will hurt on-site user behavior and search rankings, resulting in fewer conversions and reduced traffic. Many small business owners design their website because they want to save some money and exercise more control over the site design process.
A website is the cornerstone of your brand’s online presence. Websites help you to “create brand message unity across all platforms and spread it directly to your customers” (Active). Web designers work to create websites that are navigable, enjoyable, usable, and attractive. If you're not a web design professional, you won't know the rules that make sites beautiful. This blog post will give you some of the top mistakes that small business owners make when they design their business sites.
A Website With Too Much Going On
Pages rich in visual content are good, but there’s a wrong way to do it. In the realm of design, less is more. According to Usability Geek, “Visitors who can’t understand what your site is about within a few seconds of arriving on your site will leave.” You never want to have a crowded website. If you have a website with a lot of images, text, and annoying music, it will take a while to load. All this input will also confuse anyone who visits your website. Always stay away from busy designs if you design your site.
A Website With Too Little Information
You have on the other end of the spectrum websites that have far too little information on them. According to Donald Miller, a home page should contain a concise statement about what you do, who you do it for, and how that’s going to change the game for your audience. While minimalism is a popular web design trend, it can wreak havoc on your business prospects if you don't know what you're doing. A good home page answers the question “What do we do?”
In the example above, I think the design of the site is all fine and good, but I have absolutely no idea what it is that they do. Sure there’s a link that says “what we do,” but your users shouldn’t have to click on to a second page to find that out! Visitors need to know about your business and what it can do for them. Too little information on your business website will leave most of your visitors to guess about your company identity. This guessing game is never a good thing for conversions.
Bad Use of Whitespace
Content acts as a vital part of your marketing strategy. It tells visitors about your products and services. If you design your website, pay close attention to the fonts and the layout.
Take great care to pick out an attractive font for your website. Use whitespace to make your blocks of text less intimidating for your viewer. Many people put too much text on their web pages. Break your text up, then use high-quality images whenever you can. Also, update your content as much as you can. You don't want a potential customer to think that you went out of business.
Contrast these bad examples with some of our work. If you don't design websites professionally, then you should refrain from creating your business website yourself. Your online business presence is way too crucial to mess up with an ugly, muddled website. You shouldn’t trust your brand and online presence to just anyone. Use only experienced web design experts to help you attract, convert, and monetize web traffic.
To create a successful small business online, the first step is to build a great website. After all, your business site is the first real impression most of your customers will have of your brand, so it’s important to make it count.
Building a first class website is essential if you want your business to reach its full potential, but don’t let this put you off. Even if you have no prior experience of web design, you can still put together a unique and functional website that your customers will want to keep revisiting by partnering with a trusted web design agency.
While the finer points of web design may take a little longer to understand, the key ingredients of a great website are pretty straightforward. Here are the main elements to include, and how they can help to make your business a success.
To hold the interest of your customers, you need to be more than just an online store or a generic brochure website. This means creating useful, informative, and original content, so your visitors have a reason to keep coming back, even when they don’t intend to make a purchase. (Tips on content production here on our blog).
No matter how well-designed your website is, without good SEO, it will struggle to attract the traffic it deserves. As such, you should take the time to define your business niche, and choose some key words or phrases to focus on ranking for.
Tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are useful for tracking down popular search terms, scoping out the competition, and determining which options are most viable for your business.
You can also boost the appearance of your web pages in search results by optimizing your metadata. This helps you to control exactly what shows up when someone searches for your website, and makes the results more appealing and informative.
A lot of good small business SEO comes down to having a well-built, technically sound website that’s then populated with good content. You may also want to think about whether your website is relevant to the geographic locations you are targeting? Relevance is an important ranking factor.
AccessibilityVisitors to your website will decide very quickly whether they want to stick around or not. This means your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and easy to interpret at a glance.
Make sure your branding is clear, and that visitors can quickly determine what your site’s purpose is. You might even design tailored landing pages, designed to appeal to niche audiences, and increasing the chance of conversion.
Your website should be straightforward to navigate, with clear, intuitive menus. Keep design elements simple and streamlined, so pages load quickly, and do not appear cluttered. This is especially true for anyone getting a lot of traffic from mobile — and a lot of small businesses will be attracting mainly mobile visitors. This is certainly the case for local searches done ‘on the go’.
It is also essential to ensure that your website design is optimized for mobile devices. You can either use responsive web design, or create accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) to accomplish this.
For your business to be memorable, you need a clearly-defined brand identity. Furthermore, you need to ensure that your branding is displayed prominently and consistently throughout your website.
This continuity helps to tie your website together, and gives your customers a clearer idea of what your brand stands for, and how to recognize it. Remember, familiarity increases trust, and this is essential when you are trying to persuade people to invest in your product or service. For website and branding inspiration, it’s an idea to see if there are any relevant niche businesses for sale whose website choices you could learn from — or then speak to a web design agency or check out their portfolio. You can glean a lot about branding from observing others and there may be web design choices out there that you weren’t even aware of.
Top small business web design trends right now:
No matter how great your business might be, sometimes customers will have queries,complaints, or perhaps suggestions. Whatever the case, it is important that they do not feel ignored, and that they are able to secure a response from your business and promptly as possible.
A handy way to achieve this is to use chatbots, which can handle most basic queries, and delegate to a human support agent for queries that fall outside their capabilities. Even implementing a bot that informs customers their queries have been received and are being processed can be enough to mitigate concerns if here is no one immediately available.
If that doesn’t feel right for you, then a friendly contact form, phone number, and a map will all help reassure customers. Make sure that you have a way to capture people’s data like email addresses through a company newsletter or content download. You want to give people a way to engage with you that goes beyond just visiting your website.
Keep in mind that everyone your customers speak too within your business reflects the brand’s overarching identity and reputation.
One of the best ways to build trust with your audience is to demonstrate that you already have loyal, happy customers. This is known as social proof, and can be achieved in a number of ways.
Setting up a website for your small business doesn’t need to be a mammoth undertaking. There are many versatile platforms and options to choose from, offering a range of customization options, according to your needs and ability. You can always call on a professional web designer to fine tune your site, add more complex features, or handle to whole process, if you prefer.
Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to create a website that stands out from the competition, and provides an accurate picture of what your business is, does, and stands for.
More and more business owners are using a minimalist design for their website. Characterized by a simple, clean layout without the presence of unnecessary images or elements, it's become a popular design trend in recent years. If you're reluctant to change your site's design, however, consider the following benefits offered by a minimalist design.
#1) Increased Sales or Conversions
With a minimalist design, you'll generate more sales or conversions on your website. Since they lack unnecessary images and elements found in other, more complicated web designs, visitors tend to focus on the site's key function, such as an online store or call-to-action (CTA) button. Furthermore, minimalist websites often have the right amount of white space to prevent distractions and keep visitors focused on actionable links.
#2) Faster Load Times
A minimalist design can also reduce the time it takes visitors to load your site. According to a study cited by BBC, nearly half of online shoppers will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That costs your business a lot of sales. While many factors affect your site's speed, one of the most influential is its design. Complex designs that are cluttered with unnecessary elements typically take longer to load than minimalist designs.
#3) Higher Search Rankings
Search engines reward websites that provide a positive user experience with higher rankings. After all, search engines want users to continue using their service. If users encounter slow or irrelevant websites in the search results, they'll stop using the search engine. One of the best strategies to create a positive user experience is to decrease loading times with a minimalist website design. BloggingWP explains that “a delay in load time of a web page can increase your heart rate by 38%. That’s the equivalent of someone watching a horror movie.” So, for the sake of your visitor’s heart and improving your rankings, go minimalist.
#4) Easier to Maintain
Finally, you'll have an easier time maintaining your website if it uses a minimalist design. Making otherwise small changes to a complex website may break some of its design elements or functionality. Because they contain fewer elements, minimalist websites don't suffer from this problem. You can easily update and modify your website without worrying about breaking its design or functionality.
These are just a few reasons to choose a minimalist design for your business's website. After adopting it, you'll probably discover other benefits as well. If you're planning to use a minimalist design, trust an experienced graphic designer to help you make sure it reflects your business' brand and values.
We absolutely love this list of Search Engine Optimization terms! If you’ve been trying to research, here is a quick reference for the who, what, when, why, and where for SEO info. Click here to learn more about the ABC’s of SEO:
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