Articles

An Overview Of SSL Changes – What It Means For Your Website

 

In today’s ever-changing digital world, it’s important that businesses stay up to date with Google’s best practices to make sure they continue being competitive in their relevant online markets. With Google being the most dynamic and influential company on the web, it’s integral for them to keep abreast of all the threats and opportunities that the internet produces. As a result, Google releases a multitude of updates each year: new features, bug fixes, and the majority associated with the very secretive Google search ranking algorithm.

What’s important though, is that all online businesses that use Google-related services (pretty much every online business), understand meaningful changes that may have an effect on their SEO, performance, and ultimately their bottom-line. The internet is in a consistent state of change, so online enterprises need to be flexible and adapt to new Google updates as soon as possible to guarantee they aren’t adversely impacted by these new releases.

The biggest Google update that has recently influenced online firms pertains to Google Chrome v62, which was released in October this year. The Google Chrome web browser is used by close to 50% of all online users, so it’s extremely important that online enterprises implement the applicable changes as swiftly as possible if they wish to prevent any unfavourable consequences.

What has changed in Google Chrome v62?

In the Google Chrome v62 update, Google has modified the way in which it marks non-secured (HTTP) pages. If a non-secured (HTTP) page saves security passwords and credit card information (which is kept in a plain text file), they are susceptible to phishing sites that can basically steal this information from consumers that falsely believe they are providing their personal information to an authentic company. The Google Chrome browser will begin marking any text input field and web address bar as ‘NOT SECURE’ for HTTP pages.

This change will visibly have a bearing on millions of websites around the world. Prior to the change, many non-secured websites weren’t affected by phishing attacks simply because they didn’t have a public-facing member login, and utilised PayPal or other offsite payment processors to accept online payments. Now, however, all websites will need to start securing their web pages due to the fact that users will become scared of falling victim to malevolent attacks if they input their personal information into fields marked boldly as ‘NOT SECURE’.

How to make web pages secure?

For online businesses that would like to secure their previously non-secured (HTTP) web pages, they have to encrypt the information being shared between their visitors and their web server by incorporating an SSL certificate. Google are clearly pushing for a more secure internet than ever before, and they’ve chosen SSL encryption as a vehicle to do this. For website owners who want to enable HTTPS on their web servers, here is a practical guide: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/security/encrypt-in-transit/enable-https?hl=en. The following link is an additional guide on ways to avoid the ‘NOT SECURE’ warning in Google Chrome which is targeted at web developers: https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2016/10/avoid-not-secure-warn.

What this means for online businesses?

The recent Google update means that HTTPS and SSL encryption will become the norm across all web pages on the net. Eventually, each online firm will have to secure their web pages using SSL encryption whether they like it or not, or users will simply decide on a competitor that does.

What this also indicates is that not all websites using SSL encryption should be trusted, and there will be a significant increase in phishing sites using HTTPS also. Phishing sites can simply use counterfeit SSL certificates to evade the ‘NOT SECURE’ warning by Google Chrome and make their websites appear valid. This will make the differentiation between phishing sites and real websites more difficult than ever. Online firms that use an Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL) will be the most trusted websites on the web because it will be incredibly difficult for phishing sites to mimic the authenticity that EV SSL provides.

Making all websites use SSL certificates to demonstrate their authenticity will only increase the amount of phishing sites that do the same. At the end of the day, however, SSL encryption will ultimately become compulsory, so if you need any support in securing your website with SSL encryption, speak with the digital specialists at Internet Marketing Experts Wollongong by calling 1300 595 013, or visit their website for more information: http://www.internetmarketingexpertswollongong.com.au

 

Why You Should Have A WordPress Site

 

So, you’ve got an amazing business idea and you’ve made the decision you’re going to produce and publish your own website. Well, as you possibly know, there are many things to consider. The design of the website, the images you’re going to use, the content, the website architecture, the logo designs, the online store – the list goes on. But essentially, what’s most important when developing a new website is the platform you choose. There’s a variety of website platforms available with an array of different features, targeting the entire spectrum of developers from amateurs to specialists. You’ll ask for advice on which platform to use and developers will argue for weeks on end about why one platform is better than the other.

 

It can naturally be confusing to weigh the pro’s and con’s of each website platform and choose which is best for you. So, to save the time and arguments, the basic answer to this question is ‘WordPress’. The following article will provide five compelling arguments as to why WordPress is the best platform to use, regardless of your website development skills and abilities.

 

WordPress is easy to use and manage

 

WordPress is exceptionally easy to use so you don’t need to be an expert HTML coder to produce a practical and powerful website. The setup process is quick and simple, the tools are intuitive and there’s a built-in updater so you don’t have to worry about not making use of all the newest features. There are inbuilt features for blog publishing, RSS feeds, user management, automated backups, revisions and much more. Once installed, you can start making custom configurations without even writing any code!

 

WordPress is very SEO-friendly

 

In the words of Google Engineer Matt Cutts, “WordPress automatically solves a tonne of SEO issues”. SEO is an incredibly important element to any website so having in-built features that seamlessly make your website SEO-friendly is indispensable. WordPress coding is standard compliance, high quality, and produces semantic mark-up which makes your site especially attractive to search engines. There are also a selection of free plugins that you can install which will make your website even more SEO-friendly, but we’ll discuss WordPress’ plugins next.

 

WordPress is FREE and Open Source

 

Yes, you read it correctly; WordPress is free to download, install, and use to design any kind of website you want. WordPress is also open source which means that the source code is obtainable for anyone to modify, edit and create different themes and plugins with an assortment of features and release these to the online community. At the moment, there are more than 2,600 WordPress themes and over 3,100 different free plugins available for use. Due to the fact that WordPress is a community software, it is maintained by a large group of volunteers who all contribute to the software by writing patches, answering support questions and updating documentation. If you have any problems or issues about anything WordPress related, there are literally thousands of people happy to help.

 

WordPress is mobile friendly

 

Due to the increasing use of smart phones for internet usage, it’s very important that your website is optimised for mobile devices. In fact, one of Google’s latest updates requires websites to be optimised for mobile devices or they’ll be penalised in SEO. Luckily most WordPress themes are built to be mobile responsive, meaning that whatever device your customers are using, WordPress websites will automatically adjust the appearance of your website to fit. WordPress actually lets you to work on both of your mobile website and PC website separately, so you can easily customise both to optimise the user experience.

 

WordPress is secure

 

Nowadays, website security is imperative so of course WordPress has high security standards. Approximately one-quarter of websites are produced on WordPress so hackers are regularly searching for ways to compromise them. WordPress is well aware of this so has produced a series of security features which prevents any malicious attacks by releasing frequent updates that neutralises these threats. Keep in mind, it’s also imperative for you to be using a secure device when accessing your WordPress account, so make sure that you use standard security tools on your device and only acquire legitimate plugins from trusted sources.

 

As you can see, WordPress has a series of superior features that simply make it the best website platform on the market today. Though there are many other reasons why WordPress is a great choice for your website, this article just focuses on 5 of these: WordPress is highly user-friendly, free and open source, extremely SEO compatible, mobile friendly, and secure. What more could you want from a platform to develop an effective and powerful website? If you have any inquiries about how you can further optimise your website, get in touch with the team at Internet Marketing Experts Wollongong on 1300 595 013 or visit their website: http://www.internetmarketingexpertswollongong.com.au

 

Top Tips For The Greatest Email Sequences

Having worked as a sales rep for a number of tech start-ups, I can’t even begin to illustrate the importance of sending email sequences that sell. Automated emails are tremendous because they substantially reduce the workload for a sales rep, nonetheless nowadays, everyone can empathise with finding an assortment of email sequences lurking in their inbox on a daily basis that just bother us because we need to click 2 buttons to get rid of them!

 

Not nearly enough business owners spend the time and initiative in building useful email sequences that actually sell their product. Setting up effective email sequences is both a science and an art, and if done skillfully, can produce splendid results. Having hundreds of potential customers on an email list isn’t going to generate any income if you can’t sell your product. So, here’s four tips on how to build a great email sequence that will convert your leads into sales.

 

Tip 1 – First Impressions Count

 

The age old saying ‘make a good first impression’ is very appropriate when it involves email sequences. By first impressions, I mean the subject lines of your emails. It’s the first thing that recipients will find so if it’s not enticing enough, they just won’t open it. Needless to say, the subject lines of an email are pivotal when it comes to conversion rates. Here are some stats which emphasises their importance:

 

One-third of email recipients will open an email based completely on the subject line

Approximately 70% of email recipients will decide if an email is spam based upon the subject line

40% of emails are opened on mobile devices first, and the standard mobile screen can only fit between four to seven words in the subject line.

 

The key to effective subject lines is solving your prospects problems in as few words as possible. For instance, high-quality subject lines include, “Common questions about job interviews”, “Common questions about interest rates”, etc. Consider your prospects problems and target your subject lines to solve that problem concisely. You can track your subject line performance using HubSpot Sales notification stream (https://www.hubspot.com/products/sales/email-tracking).

 

Tip 2 – Write Well-Crafted Content

 

When a recipient has opened an email, it’s important that you deliver a value proposition in the context of their problem right away. Forget beginning the email with your name and job title; you have to give your recipients a good reason to keep reading the email. Therefore, begin your email with some information they can relate to, like company news or their opinion to an event via Twitter or an online blog, then get into the value proposition in the 2nd & 3rd sentences.

 

Your value proposition should be constructed like this:.

 

I have an idea about [problem/pain-point] and I’d love to have a minute to speak with you about [resolution].

Here’s some preliminary information [link to helpful content] and if you ‘d like to speak more about it, let me know.

I recently collaborated with another business with [positive benefit]. Is this something that would be helpful for [company name]?

 

It’s crucial that you get to the point immediately and keep the content targeted to the objectives of your prospect.

 

Tip 3 – Dump the bland ‘Welcome Email’

 

If a prospect has shown interest in your services or products, why waste both of your time with a welcome email that has no benefit or offerings? It’s basically dead-wood and if you’re going to send a welcome email, make sure that you provide a catchy subject line and value proposition in the content of the email (refer to tip 1 & 2).

 

Tip 4 – Always Be Helpful

 

The truth of the matter is that even a fantastic first email may not get a reaction from the recipient. It’s understandable; people are busy and have prerogatives, so I recommend sending 2 or 3 follow-up emails as part of your email sequence. It’s easy to forget an email that you’re interested in, but a great follow-up email will remind them that you’re here to help them in whatever problem they have. You need to make sure that your follow-up emails also include your value propositions, and further information that is informative to the recipient in solving their problems. Again, HubSpot Sales will monitor which emails are opened and which links are clicked so I strongly encourage using this application to aid you with your email sequences.

 

The value of creating effective and actionable email sequences can have a powerful affect on your conversion rates and sales. There are many factors that you need to consider when developing your email sequences, but this article showcases the most important factors that lead to success. If you’re having problems converting your leads into sales with your email sequences, it’s certainly worthwhile in consulting with digital marketing specialists that can help you. Speak to the team at Internet Marketing Experts Wollongong today on 1300 595 013 or visit their website: http://www.internetmarketingexpertswollongong.com.au.

 

How To Recover From A Social Media Fail

 

There’s no question that social media is a big aspect of online marketing strategies for many businesses. With more than one billion active users on Facebook alone brings about massive opportunities for business in a variety of different ways. Clearly, advertising is the biggest opportunity for businesses, but there’s also a brilliant opportunity for businesses to communicate with their customers on a personal level via various social media platforms. Customers can convey all their feedback via a company’s social media account; the good, the bad, and the ugly. So without a doubt, there’s going to be heaps of social media blunders when businesses address customer’s feedback online.

 

The problem here is that anything that you post on the internet, stays on the internet, so it’s essential that a sufficient amount of time is invested in delivering accurate and appropriate responses to customers through social media. At the same time though, there’s always going to be some newsworthy controversy. If social media fails aren’t controlled sufficiently, they can severely damage a brand’s image and can even put a business into crisis mode in a couple of minutes. So here’s a brief overview of how your business can bounce back from social media fails with minimal damage to your brand and image.

 

Have a sense of humour

 

When innocent social media blunders happen, making a joke of the blunder by using some quick wit is one of the best solutions. In most cases, shedding some humour so everyone has a laugh is the internet version of almost tripping on the pavement and turning it into a dance recital. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm rewards posts that encounter high volumes of interactions, including likes, comments and replies, so it’s possible to turn a basic blunder into higher exposure and a bigger target audience, all from an innocent mistake!

 

Act immediately

 

Whatever the type of social media fail, the quicker you respond, the better your result will be. In today’s internet world, controversial news spreads like wildfire, so it’s essential that you acknowledge your blunder, genuinely apologise then clearly state the next steps you will be taking to correct the situation. Just ignoring the problem can have adverse outcomes and the longer it takes you to react, the more momentum your social media blunder will be gaining and the tougher it will be to remedy.

 

Be honest

 

It’s vital that you are honest about your mistake and the steps you’re taking to resolve the problem. There’s no point arguing with your customers if you’re the one who has made the error! If you blatantly lie about how long it will take for your servers to be back online or the length of time before new stock arrives, it’s only going to harm your brand and reputation by further irritating your customers. Conversely, if you are honest, your customers may not be happy but they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re not making another mistake! These days, honesty is refreshing and lies only compound which can potentially turn your blunder into a disaster.

 

Keep moving forward

 

Social media mistakes, even crises, doesn’t define a brand so once you’ve resolved the situation as best you can, keep moving forward with business as usual. As long as you’ve taken a professional approach and you learn from your mistake, acting like it’s water off a duck’s back is significantly better than dwelling on the situation. You’ll have to put procedures in place to reduce the possibility of such mistakes arising again, and this will only improve your social media team with more experience. Social media mistakes are like a wake-up call, and in some situations, you may realise ways to improve your product’s or brand’s image because of your blunder. But whatever you do, don’t shy away from your social media’s endeavours. There’ll always be another company’s social media fail to speak about tomorrow!

 

Social media is a powerful force in today’s society and companies are capitalising on the numerous opportunities it presents. Having the opportunity to communicate with your customers on a personal level is tremendous, and you need to be prepared for social media fails because they will materialise at some time or another. This article discusses some key ways to recover from social media blunders, including using humour, responding fast, being honest and moving forward with business. If you find yourself in a deep social media crisis and you need assistance before things get out of hand, talk with digital marketing specialists who will be able to assist you promptly and effectively. Contact the team at Internet Marketing Experts Wollongong on 1300 595 013 or visit their website: http://www.internetmarketingexpertswollongong.com.au

 

An SEO Quick Fix Guide You Can Do TODAY

SEO is regarded by many to be a mystical creature with terrific powers. Understanding exactly how SEO works and all the varying ways to enhance your website’s SEO score can be remarkably demanding and time-consuming. However, it is a vital aspect of any online marketing plan and will virtually make or break a firm in some industries. Many industry experts consider SEO to be among the most successful forms of advertising, so regularly improving your SEO should be a priority if you intend to increase your website visits and earnings.

 

It’s very tough to keep up to date with SEO best practices and standards since they change frequently, so it’s often recommended that you seek professional advice concerning your SEO and online marketing strategy. Despite this, there are some quick and simple ways that you can strengthen your SEO, even with even a basic level of IT understanding, so here is a quick overview on some basic ways to improve your SEO today.

 

Content is King

 

When it comes to SEO, content is king. So, make sure that you have high-quality, well-written and unique content that is relevant for your target market. Updating your content frequently is also key so don’t leave your content stagnant for years because there’s no need to update it. Introducing a blog into your website is always excellent for SEO because new content is frequently being added and search engines love spotting new content and will increase your rankings if this happens frequently.

 

Make sure You Have a Flat Website Architecture

 

Your website architecture is effectively the organisation of all the various webpages on your website. A considerable component of SEO involves how user-friendly your website is, i.e. how easy users can browse your website to locate the info they’re searching for. It’s imperative that your website architecture is as ‘flat’ as possible because this will make it more user-friendly for visitors and search engines will acknowledge this and consequently improve your SEO score. Having a ‘flat’ website means that you aren’t burying web pages within web pages. A good guideline is to ensure that your most important web pages are less than three links from the homepage. If your website isn’t flat, then you can simply fix this by creating extra navigation menus or additional internal links.

 

Ensure You Have Accurate Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

 

Meta titles and descriptions are valuable components of your website’s content. Each of your web pages will have a meta title and meta description that is used by search engines to understand the content of each web page in figuring out the relevancy to a user’s search. Always remember, Google wants each user to have the best experience as possible, so it will always rank the most relevant websites the highest.

 

Meta titles gives the user a quick insight into the content of each web page to ensure it is relevant. Each meta title should feature a primary and secondary keyword that is relevant for that webpage, along with your brand name. The format looks like this: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name. It should also be no more than 60 characters, or Google will truncate your meta title which looks disorganised and unprofessional. Having high-quality and meaningful meta titles are crucial in optimising your web pages for SEO.

 

Meta descriptions are essentially condensed descriptions of the content of the web page. While meta descriptions don’t exclusively influence ranking algorithms, they are still very important as search engines will frequently use the summary in search results snippets when they believe a web page’s meta description successfully represents the content of the web page. Unique and accurate meta descriptions consisting of keywords will help improve your click-through rates (CTR’s) and website visitors, which will consequently result in increased revenue. Meta descriptions should ordinarily be between 150 and 160 characters in length.

 

Ensure You Have a Clean URL Structure

 

A URL is a ‘Uniform Resource Locator’, or your website address, so it makes sense that your URL structure should be as straightforward and clean as possible. There should no unwarranted strings or parameters including key phrases in any of your URL’s. You can quite possibly relate to this if you’ve ever clicked on a very long hyperlink. If so, then you’ll probably agree that they look tangled and unprofessional. If you’ve constructed your website using WordPress, then it will systematically create a simple and clean URL structure for you, so you don’t have to worry about it!

 

Conversely, if you’re using another website platform and you already have a well-known website, it’s best to seek professional advice in regards to changing your URL structure because doing this means that you’ll lose all your links, and consequently your SEO value. Digital marketing professionals will be able to change your URL structure and mitigate the effect on your SEO score. If you find yourself in this situation, then contact the team at Internet Marketing Experts Wollongong on 1300 595 013 or visit their website: http://www.internetmarketingexpertswollongong.com.au