The Blog

 

09

Apr 2018

Own Your Online Reputation

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A neighbor speaks highly of you. A satisfied customer recommends your service. It’s what many times keeps us in business.  But what about your online reputation? Are you aware of how your business is reflected online?

Testimonials on your site are not worth the same weight as testimonials from  third party verified sites such as Google, Angies’ s List, LinkedIn, Trip Adviser and Yelp to name a few. Google even uses how many times your company has been reviewed as part of their ranking algorithms.

You may have seen those little gold stars (oh how we all love them!) next to listings. They are an important indication of how you are perceived to your purchasing public.

Find out what your Online Reputation is
Google your company name, and your name. Make a note of all sites that come up, and read. If your website, Facebook, or Linkedin profile does not come up first, you are not controlling your reputation. You are letting others that write about you dictate your brand. Your web developer should be able to have your website come up first, controlling what people will see first. Review sites should follow.

What you can do to improve your Online Reputation

Make sure you are asking satisfied customers to review you online, and have a direct link on your website to make it easier for them to do so.
I’ve seen bad reviews for restaurants when overcrowded for Mothers’ Day. (Doesn’t everyone go out for Mother’s Day?) I’ve seen negative reviews for Auto Body Shops, Cleaning Services, Motels and other industries where it is almost impossible to please 100% of the people, 100% of the time.  You know those people; and it’s better to walk away from customers who are difficult and have unreasonable expectations. However, online you need to respond when necessary:  A response to the restaurant customer may have gone as follows: “We are sorry your wait was longer than expected. We do our best to accommodate everyone and suggest making a reservation in the future, or try us when it’s not a holiday.”
This tells the public you care, and that you are responsive. Most people will no longer perceive this as a negative review, but rather the customer should have made a reservation and that lowered his expectations of getting a table for 12 on a holiday:)

 

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09

Mar 2018

Truth About Tech

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Recent research shows the majority of parents and teenagers check their mobile devices at least every hour. Nearly 50 percent of parents and more than 70 percent of teens feel the need to respond to texts and other notifications immediately.

 

Concerns about the risk of digital addictions has motivated an organization called Truth About Tech to be created. Founders James Steyer and Tristan Harris are technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google. Alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, they have banded together to challenge the companies they helped build. Truth About Tech aims to raise awareness about the risk of constant connectivity.

The campaigns’ goal is to educate parents, teens and all users about the addictive quality of cell phones and other devices and also to come up with solutions, including reaching out to the tech giants to request design changes.
There are many techniques used by the tech companies such as Snapchat, Google and Facebook to keep you engaged. It is addiction by design; much like the tobacco companies crafted a deliberate attempt to create addiction. The colors, beeps, and pop ups all are intended to keep you hooked. The platforms that are based on sharing are promoting this addiction because the sharing creates ad sales and helps run their revenue stream.

The organization feels that there is a growing concern how it affects users and feels there is a moral and ethical responsibility to raise awareness and take steps to address this issue. It’s time to have a conversation with the tech giants. Companies like Apple and Samsung can do more to create parental control settings in these devices such as muting sounds and colors. If enough pressure is put on these companies, we may expect to see some changes. Stay tuned!

Read for more information.

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24

Aug 2017

Computer Scams and Hackers – What you can do

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As a web developer, I am on my computer all day. I have seen an alarming escalation in scams, hack attempts and ransomware cyberattacks. Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They can arrive by, phone call, text message, or email.
Computer hackers use computer viruses to gain access to your computer details, to steal your money and identity, then scam you.

Prevent Tech Fraud and Hacking
1. Use passwords that contain a combination of upper case, lower and unusual characters. It’s a common misconception that a person is trying to guess your passwords. There are robots scanning the internet with sophisticated algorithms that are attempting to unscramble your passwords. The harder it is, the least likely you will be compromised.
2. Most people cannot remember these passwords: You can install programs for free such as Roboform, lastpass or dashlane. You need only remember the one password and then all are stored. It also good practice to change your most important passwords (banking, shopping) annually.
3. Install anti virus software and set it up for automatic updates.
4. Update your software. Sometimes it’s annoying but they often contain security patches
5. Email is NOT secure. I can’t tell you how many times my customers have send credit card information via email.

Popular Scams
• If you get an email from your bank, or store asking for you to “re enter your password” do not! They will not call you to ask you for security to reveal your password. They sometimes send an alarmingly large “payment due” email with an invoice. Do not open the attachment! And never click on links in any email that may ask for personal information.
• Telltale signs of scam emails are misspellings, or if you hover your cursor over the links in the email, they do not go to legitimate urls.
• You may have typed in a wrong url by mistake and are taken to a scam site (such as twwitter.com) There are almost 9000 scam domain names according to a recent study published in AARP magazine. They look like the real sites, but are not. Then when you log in, they steal your log in info.
• Some scammers call and claim to be computer techs associated with well-known companies like Microsoft or Apple. Other scammers send pop-up messages that warn about computer problems. They say they’ve detected viruses or other malware on your computer. They claim to be “tech support” and will ask you to give them remote access to your computer. Eventually, they’ll diagnose a non-existent problem and ask you to pay for unnecessary – or even harmful – services.

If you get an unexpected pop-up, call, spam email or other urgent message about problems with your computer, stop. Don’t click on any links, don’t give control of your computer and don’t send any money. Many times a pop up will encourage you to download a free item such as a PC cleaner. Do not download, it can be malware installed which will cause you to have pop ups constantly appear and they suggest calling a “technician” to fix.
Malicious ads can be reported to the FTC online at ftc.gov/complaint.

Hacking
A few years ago, Sony was in the news as sensitive emails were hacked and released. HBO was recently hacked by a group called Ourmine Hacking Group. Hackers gain access to sensitive documents, passwords and emails. They blackmail a company that if demands are not met, they release sensitive materials.
Web sites, especially WordPress sites are vulnerable to hacking at the server lever. They are not after your small company per say, nor do they ask for money. They infiltrate and create outbound links and fake home page messages. (haha you’ve been hacked by…) They do it to for fun and they cause major harm to businesses. Unfortunately, sites are vulnerable to hacking. The best you can do is to check that your web host and or provider has updated plugins, secure passwords and regular backups. If your site is hacked, it’s a lot easier to replace the site with the backup then try to clean the code.

Preventing Cyberattacks and Ransomware
Ransomware is a computer virus that you can get from opening a malicious document or email. It can even be from people you know, because their email addresses may be stolen. When you open the malicious file in your pc, your computer will either freeze, or ask to run the app. Files will suddenly become encrypted and ransomware notes will be dropped into every folder. The document goes on to say that unless you have the encryption key, you cannot access your files and if you try to remove the virus on your own, the files will be permanently destroyed. You usually have a few weeks to comply with their instructions to pay for the software and the key. They demand each victim to pay using Bitcoins, with various ransom demands.
Some are forced to pay thousands of dollars but there is no guarantee you will get your files back
It is strongly recommended not to pay the ransom as the activations keys may not decrypt the data entirely.
Cerber -flooded the internet in March 2016. Wanna cry and Peyta infected Microsoft in May 2017; 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.

The warning here – always use Microsoft updates automatic setting.

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07

Aug 2017

Web Design Trends – What to Look for in Clean Design

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Why are design trends important?
For non-website designers, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of the technological advances and countless new design options emerging almost daily. But you know that your website must be user-friendly and engaging on any device. After all, you are in business to sell, not entertain.

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The landscape of web design is constantly evolving. Web designers need to understand how users react and tap into their subconscious spending habits; whether or not something appeals to us or even displeases us.

When we see an old or outdated website, we may assume the company is itself old- fashioned, or maybe out of touch with technology. This can prove dangerous for a technology company or even a manufacturer, who claims to use state of the art technology for its customers. Websites that still use Adobe Flash, pop- up windows, or even old scripts will not work on an Apple device, (iphones and tablets) You just lost more than half your audience. Google also will soon ignore your site if it is not mobile friendly. Colors and readability play a large part in our decision to buy. Our eyes shouldn’t have to work that hard to process small text, long paragraphs or light text. We also have shorter attention spans which cause us to walk away from a site that has these flaws.

Okay! So what is Trending?

The arrangement of design elements within a given structure should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing down the speed of his reading.

  • Long page scrolls (people would rather scroll than click)
  • Responsive design – adapts to a user’s devise (desktop, phone, tablet)
  • Big bold type, Stronger use of typography. Capture my attention!
  • Aesthetic movement- the gentle flow of type on a page. The rotation of images to keep ones attention is also known as parallax scrolling.  Moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) increases visitor engagement.
  • Use of interesting mouseover effects when I put my mouse over elements. Make me want to poke around!
  • Brighter colors
  • High quality videos

 

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