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Apr
6
Do I Need an SSL Certificate for My Website?
Posted by Didier Bizimungu on 06 April 2017 09:09 am

Webtivity Designs recommends that ALL webmasters or site owners upgrade their websites with an SSL certificate.

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology.

SSL CertificateSSL is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information like credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your users’ personal information.

This increased protection has not gone unnoticed by search engines. Starting in 2015 Google has slowly but surely increased the importance of having an SSL certificate to its search rankings. We fully expect the rest of the big three, Yahoo and Bing, to follow Google’s lead.

This is outlined on the Google Webmaster Blog.

This is a rare but incredible break in normal Google practices of never commenting on search ranking factors. They did not stop there with their pursuit of a more secure user experience. Recently the Google Chrome browser began showing a “Not Secure” warning on any webpage without an SSL that collects user data.

Where can you get an SSL Certificate? Webtivity currently offers SSL Certificates as well as installation and maintenance for a nominal fee. Certificates must be renewed every year to remain valid. We can provide a free estimate on the cost of the whole process.

If you do not go through us GoDaddy also offers SSL Certificates. Please note however that they do not offer installation or renewal services, just a certificate.

https webtivityA key requirement of an SSL Certificate is a dedicated IP. This means a website has its own IP address. Typing in the URL of the website or its IP address would bring you to the same website. This has the added benefit of speeding up the loading time of your website further positively influencing SEO rankings.

Webtivity is here to guide you through this process regardless of which provider you use. We highly recommend that ALL of our clients upgrade their websites to this security level. This goes double for current SEO clients.

Please feel free to send any questions or concerns our way via email or phone call at: (941) 753-7574

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Mar
24
What Does the Not Secure Warning Mean?
Posted by Didier Bizimungu on 24 March 2017 01:28 pm

There are many variations of Not Secure going around the Internet right now. “Not secure” is the warning you will see in the URL or address bar while using the Chrome Browser on certain pages. See below for an example.

chrome address bar not secure warning

When did this start?

This change came into effect on January 31st, 2017 with the release of Chrome Version 56.

chrome not secure warning origin

What Pages Are Affected?

Website pages with password or credit card form fields will trigger this “not secure” warning. For example a non-HTTPs or unsecured WordPress login page will look like this:

wordpress unsecured example

 

Some people may question the efficacy of this move in light of the fear it may instill in some unfamiliar users. For example for those of us who use the SmarterMail email server to manage our emails we now see:

unsecured site smartermail

Now imagine if you were not familiar with the Internet. Does that look like a safe place to login to you? This abrupt move by not just Google but Firefox as well has lofty goals but mark my words there will be growing pains.

What browsers are affected?

The browsers with the Not Secured Warning thus far include Firefox and Google Chrome. Firefox’s not secure warning started with Firefox 52. It’s warning looks a bit different than Chrome’s however:

firefox security warning

What is the goal?

The ultimate goal of both Chrome and Firefox, as well as some other browsers which I’m sure are to follow, is to secure the entire Internet over SSL. Regular HTTP has been shown to be vulnerable to “middle men” attacks. The monitoring, interception, and sometimes even injection of information before it can reach its destination.

It’s easy to see how this might be a concern for pages that contain sensitive information such as credit card or password information.

As it stands about a third of all web traffic is routed through SSLs or HTTPs and that number only keeps growing.

What can I do?

Get in touch with the consummate SEO professionals at Webtivity for more information on how to attain an SSL Certificate to ensure that your website visitors do not run into this menacing issue!

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Mar
13
Phishing Email
Posted by Meredith Bardsley on 13 March 2017 04:16 pm

Phishing Email

Below is an emPhishingail recently received by a client. The client contacted us to see if it was legitimate before clicking on any links. It was a good thing she did! This email was not from us and turned out to be a phishing email attempting to steal information or download malicious software on her computer.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————

From: E-mail Administrator [mailto:admin@admin.srvr.com]

Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 12:51 PM

To: admin@admin.com

Subject: [Norton AntiSpam]Your E-mail Account closure Notification

 

Dear Email Client,

 

You have exhausted the space 5GB Bandwidth of your email account and for this reason some of your incoming mails with files is placed pending.

Kindly Click on the link below to complete the upgrade on your account in order to Receive your pending mails and enjoy full features and efficient e-mail service delivery.

 

Click Here TO UPGRADE and add more Bandwidth to your mailbox.

 

Once the information provided matches the records on our database, your account will function normal again.

 

Sincerely,

Email Service Team

——————————————————————————————————————————————

 

What makes this email suspicious?

 

  • “From:” email is not from our email system
  • “To:” is not addressed to their domain email address
  • Typos and grammar mistakes
  • Hovering over the link revealed a suspicious URL (link deactivated in this post)
  • Signature is “Email Service Team” not a Webtivity signature

 

Unfortunately with the convenience of the internet comes criminals and risk. Identity thieves have become very clever and good at impersonating companies we trust. Here are some tips:

 

  • Don’t assume that because it has a bank or company logo or looks like one your received previously that it is a legitimate email
  • Look at the to and from email addresses
  • Look for typos and grammatical errors
  • Hover over (do not click) any links and look at the bottom left corner of your browser to see where the links go. Best practice is not to use the email links and to log into your account as you normally do and interact that way.
  • Do not send personal information including credit card information by email
  • If an email is at all suspicious, contact the company using the contact information you have on file. DO NOT use the contact information in the suspicious email as it too is probably bogus

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Mar
10
5 Ways to Handle Online Reviews to Win Customers
Posted by Didier Bizimungu on 10 March 2017 12:04 pm

Why do online reviews matter?

online reviews importance to SEOYou already know that online reviews are feedback left by past customers on websites, but why should you even pay attention to them? There are hundreds of reasons why online reviews make a powerful online marketing tool. Most important of all is customer relationship management. Client satisfaction is the cornerstone of the success of any business venture regardless of its size.

Before online reviews there were testimonials, an affidavit of a business’s quality of service.  In today’s fast paced internet world most people (91%) regularly or occasionally read online reviews. Online reviews have become the new word-of-mouth communication tool for customers among each other.

Search engines that cater to these very same customers have noticed how much emphasis users place on reviews. Therefore, they have enacted algorithm changes to the way they present search results to favor better reviewed websites. Online reviews are invaluable to Search Engine Optimization, especially to small businesses.

Top 5 best online review websites

If you are a small local business, like Webtivity!, you don’t have a huge amount of resources to begin with. Let your friendly local web design marketing company make mastering your online reviews game a whole lot easier. Here is a list of the top five online review websites you should be focusing most of your efforts on:

  • Google – Head on over to Google My Business and claim your profile if you haven’t already done so. Google the biggest search engine on earth now includes your business’s ranking within search engine result pages.
  • Facebook – Facebook has its own review section for your business’s Facebook page. This ranking is now included in the Google Business Pack as well.
  • Yelp – Yelp is the next contender. It receives over 145 million unique visitors on a monthly basis!
  • Yellow Pages – This old classic is still favored by millions as their go-to business research landing page. This fact does not look to be changing, as they are position themselves as an online marketing service provider.
  • Bing Places – Microsoft’s answer to Google My Business this powerful review engine is not to be ignored. This is the second most popular search engine after Google, and yes, it does indeed include ratings as part of its rankings calculation.

How can I ask customers to leave online reviews?

asking for online reviewsYou understand how important online reviews are to your local business’s success, but how do you get or encourage clients to leave those reviews? There are several ways to encourage clients to leave reviews.

The easiest approach is after a sale is made or a service is provided. This is when the customer has your business fresh in their minds; they understand the benefit your business has provided so they are more likely to make the effort to leave a review. Strike while the iron is hot so to speak.

To acquire reviews indirectly, businesses have employed feedback cards, QR codes, emails, and even phone calls to encourage clients to leave reviews. When suggesting to a client to leave a review, remember to focus on one or two of the major sites we previously mentioned where you need reviews the most.

How do I track online reviews?

Now that your business has started receiving reviews how do you keep track of all the various review sites? There are various solutions out there but they cost money. If you currently have a search engine optimization partner managing your digital marketing efforts, give Webtivity a look (hint shameless plug).

If you are more of the do-it-yourself kind of person, look into setting up a Google Alert on your branded name. For example for us that would be “Webtivity Marketing and Designs”.  You’ll be notified any time your business is mentioned online.

Another nifty online tool for review management is Social Mention. They will track a variety of social media platforms for mentions of your branded name as mentioned above. It is free and it allows you to set up email alerts for specific keywords.

It bears mentioning that none of these tools beat regular manual checking of your listings on the review sites we mentioned earlier.

How do I handle negative reviews?

how do I handle negative online reviewsJust like positive reviews, you should strive to respond to each and every negative review. There are several guidelines you should follow however to ensure you do not make an already bad situation worse. You will only serve to alienate the customer and anyone else who reads that review.

Do not write anything argumentative or even defensive. Instead seek to resolve the customer’s issue as fast and as directly as possible. Reach out with a message offering to help solve the difficulty this client had with your product or service.

If the issue is resolved, ask the client to update their review, most happy clients will. If they do not respond your response should act as a great signal to potential customers that you care about client satisfaction.

Finally, bury negative reviews with positive ones. Redouble your efforts to acquire more reviews to balance out the negative reviews. Most clients looking for reviews will only pay attention to the final business review standing.

3 biggest mistakes small businesses make with online reviews

  • Not being responsive – The easiest way to lose potential clients, and subsequently search engine rankings, is by not being responsive to your online review platforms. Strive to have a 100% score on thanking all reviewers, as well as asking them for more feedback. In other words, reviews represent a unique opportunity to directly engage your clientele.
  • Combative responses – Even worse than being non-responsive, is responding in a negative and combative manner. This signals to users that whoever is managing this business is not a mature individual. A lack of tact can ruin any business.
  • Self or fraudulent reviews – This is the biggest no-no since no-nos were invented. You should never engage in this unethical practice. Review platforms have gotten sophisticated enough to be able to track false reviews. This earns a negative mark for your business and sinks your already floundering reputation even lower.

If I leave you with one thing…

Engage, engage, and engage. Please do not disregard the online review marketplace as a non-issue in your marketing efforts. Make sure your business is taking advantage of this free source of direct client to business engagement opportunity.

If you are ready to make the first step give us a call at (941) 753-7574 or schedule a quick conversation with Tim!

For more facts about online reviews check out this awesome infrographic from our friends over at invespcro:

The importance of online customer reviews

 

Infographic by- Invesp

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Feb
24
Internet Safety
Posted by Meredith Bardsley on 24 February 2017 11:56 am

Internet Safety

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received Facebook friend requests from people I don’t know or from people that have no mutual friends with me. Or the number of times that I’ve been friend requested by people I’m already friends with. They’ve been hacked!

There are many easy ways to be safe online, in any capacity whether it’s social media, online purchasing, and even just email.

Internet Safety

    • First off, keep your profile PRIVATE! If you are not a public official or personality, why do you want the whole world knowing your business, seeing your private family photos, and knowing what you do on a daily basis? Go and Google yourself. See what Google knows about you. You might be surprised. Social media outlets have the ability to be private, so only people you approve or are friends with can see your postings. Check Facebook privacy basics here.
    • Internet SafetyIf your account is already private, make sure you are accepting friend requests, follow requests, or +1 from people you know! Go through your friends list, how many of these people do you actually know? Delete them if you don’t!
    • LinkedIn is geared towards professionals and business, so you might not want a private LinkedIn profile, but there options to maintain some degree of privacy.
    • Don’t share your passwords. Also, don’t use the same password for all accounts. Let’s face it. The majority of us pay our bills online; we shop online, and probably even pay our taxes online. Keep a list (somewhere safe) of passwords, and make them difficult! Include numbers, special characters and capital letters.
    • Speaking of passwords. You know how when you set up a new account and you’re asked to answer security questions? Provide fake answers. Why? Well, have you ever noticed that the majority of these Facebook quizzes and “tell me about yourself” posts are geared towards some of the most common questions? Such as your home city, street you grew up on, favorite vacation spot; the list goes on and on. Don’t answer these quizzes, they’re click bait! When you answer these questions, you’re giving hackers insight which can be used to access your accounts! Why do you need to tell your friends all about yourself, shouldn’t they know already?
    • Check out the Apps you’ve allowed on your social media accounts. Remove any that you don’t use, and limit the information you allow them to see.
    • Be careful what you click on. Sadly, too many times I’ve opened a news story (from an actual news source) only to have “You’ve been selected to win…” pop up in my window. Don’t click it! Back out or close the window.
    • Don’t open emails that look funny or are from people you don’t know. Almost every store today asks for an email address for discounts or rewards points. I have a separate email account which I use for things like that. I also give out a fake phone number.
    • Rather than give your credit card information out online, consider using PayPal, or Apple Pay. Link it to a bank account or a credit card that doesn’t have a ton of available funds.
    •  
      In addition to these safety precautions, it’s wise to have a good anti-virus or spyware program installed on your computer.

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