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The Increasing Importance of Privacy In Marketing

Customer data is extremely valuable for any marketer nowadays. The data generated by marketing campaigns help marketers in understanding the market, its customers and the wants and needs to optimize the products or services. As you can imagine, such valuable data is also a target for cyber criminals or competitors.

However, as valuable customer data is, it’s also essential to keep the data private. If you fail to keep customer data secure and private, it may have disastrous consequences.

In order words, if you launch a new marketing campaign, you can’t deny the importance of keeping privacy in mind. In addition, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws – enacted since 25 May earlier this year – ensure that companies are in compliance with data security and privacy of European citizens.

In this article, I’ll discuss why data security is incredibly important when launching marketing campaigns, why people value privacy more than ever these days and what you can do in the future to secure your marketing campaigns.

Data Privacy & Security

Every marketer and business must comply with privacy laws and regulations. However, if you can ensure customers that their data is in a safe place, you also build trust. If you can’t ensure that their data is safe and you suffer a significant data breach, you’ll likely lose many customers, as well as fail to attract new customers.

There are plenty of companies of all different sizes that have been sued over privacy issues in the past. Most large enterprises such as Yahoo or eBay who experienced huge data breaches are capable of surviving such an attack but many small companies couldn’t keep their head above the water. It’s a simple fact that weak security and unprofessional data handling can cost you everything.

Thus, data privacy and protection must be at the top of the priority list when creating a new marketing campaign.

Why People Value Privacy More than Ever These Days

Consumers place more and more value on their privacy and what type of data businesses store. In general, people don’t like to be watched, so they don’t like the fact that some businesses know a whole lot about them.

Although it’s not illegal for businesses to store personal and payment information, it’s not always an advantage. Privacy isn’t secrecy, but most people don’t fancy the idea of their information somewhere out there.

It’s comparable to the USA Freedom Act that restricted US surveillance agencies such as the FBI, NSA and CIA of wiretapping everyone in the U.S. without any reason. U.S. citizens had a huge issue with the fact they were constantly being watched.

Another example are the numerous Hollywood actresses who fell victim to the infamous iCloud hack in 2014. It’s not directly related to shared personal information, however, these situations lead to people being increasingly aware and value their own personal information more.

Trust is another important factor why people value their privacy more. Especially in the digital world, it’s essential to provide a feeling of trust. Data breaches are the opposite and usually obliterate that trust.

Due to the relatively high number of recent data breaches – and more expected to follow, most people who’ve already experienced the consequences of their personal and payment information being stolen tend to tread more carefully and are reluctant to trust other online businesses.

The awareness in regards to online privacy has increased, which created a sense of reluctance to simply share every piece of personal information as it could always end up in the wrong hands.

Tips for the Future

Here’s what you can do in future marketing campaigns in order to improve privacy.

  1. Privacy Protection Analysis

Cyber criminals may always try to breach your campaign website or server and abuse the information for fraudulent activities. It’s best to bring in an IT expert to rigorously test your current security practices and improve where necessary.

  1. Data Collection

In order to minimize the risk of losing data, carefully consider what type of information is essentialto your business, to keep it running. Is the data gathered strictly necessary? If not, you might want to reconsider what data you collect from campaigns. The less you store, the lower the risks.

  1. Communication

Communication is extremely important when it comes to privacy protection. People don’t want to hear what you’re going to do in case of a data breach, they want to know what you’ve already done. Communication is key to engagement and trust as well.

  1. Data Security

Proof the audience you follow the best security practices and use top-notch security software to keep their data secure. You’re not only doing it to be compliant with regulations, but also in going to great lengths to protect the user data.

  1. Privacy Policies

Most marketing campaign data is shared with many other departments and people within a company. It’s therefore important to establish clear privacy policies. Human errors are still a huge factor in data losses/breaches. Thus, the more important everyone is aware of threats and security policies.

Guest Post from Bill at PixelPrivacy.com. Whether it be one of our in-depth guides or our expertly crafted “how-to” articles, we’re here to show you how to stay safe online. We believe everyone has the power to keep their data secure, no matter what your level of tech expertise is and our site will show you how!

Google’s New SSL Certificate Requirement & How It Will Impact Your Business

Starting July 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will flag all non-SSL websites as “not secure”.

Why, you ask?

As always, Google works hard to ensure its users feel safe and secure on the Internet. If your site does not have a valid SSL Certificate, Google reported that it would enforce the new requirement by publicly flagging your site as “not secure”.

By doing this, your visitors will be warned that your website is unsafe – stating that their connection is not private and that there is a possibility that someone may try to steal their information.

To move past this warning, users will have to give consent to visit your website. The likelihood that your audience will go elsewhere is significant and we want to help you avoid losing valuable business.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is the standard protection protocol for all websites visited.

Often referred to as the “online passport”, an SSL Certificate contains the following information:

  • Name of the holder
  • Serial number and expiration date
  • Copy of the certificate holder’s public key
  • Digital Signature of the certificate-issuing authority

Note: Google no longer trusts any Symantec-issued SSL/TLS certifications.

How does it work?

By installing the SSL text file of encrypted data on your server, it protects all private and personal information traveling between your site and your users.

When an SSL Certificate is properly installed on your server, visitors will be reassured by seeing visuals like the lock icon and green address bar. This indicates that you’re using a trusted encryption tool.

When should you install an SSL Certificate?
If your website is still operating as HTTPor accepts any kind of text input, you will require an SSL Certificate. This includes text inputs such as login panels, search bars, contact forms, and more.

Why is an SSL Certificate important?

There are many reasons why an SSL Certificate is extremely important for protecting your business.

  1. Protects sensitive information

An SSL Certificate ensures that the information passed from computer to computer is encrypted. This means that any unprivileged computer trying to access your information (including credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and more) will be unable to read it.

2. Protects you from cyber criminals & online hackers

Cyber criminals and online hackers are clever. They’re extra talented at identifying weak points in your network, especially capturing information and data when it is being transmitted between servers. An SSL Certificate will protect integral information while it moves between destinations.

  1. Build credibility and trust with your customers
    By using an SSL Certificate, your customers will feel confident that their information is traveling safely. It is important to create safe and satisfying experiences for your customers! Don’t run the risk of losing valuable business.

What does this mean for you?

This is something you can’t ignore! No matter what type of website you run, you will need to ensure a valid SSL Certificate is installed within the next month.

Contact us today to help secure your website with an SSL Certificate.

Resources:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/07/beware_the_coming_chrome_certificate_apocalypse/

https://phoenixnap.com/blog/google-ssl-certificates

https://web123.com.au/googles-ssl-certificate-changes-will-impact-business/

Understanding the Marketing Advantages of Facebook Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – and How to Use Each for the Best Results.

Many businesses and brands often wonder which social media platforms will achieve the most awareness and generate new business. While some certainly have there own advantages, great marketing and real connection is reached when you understand how to interact with each platform – this will vary based on the way it is designed of course. Understanding their nuances is key to your success. Here we break down the benefits of each social media platform and how to use them to your advantage.

Facebook

Facebook is the most remarkable social platform due to its mass interaction worldwide. The most noteworthy factor about Facebook is that people generally never unsubscribe from pages or people they follow. It also offers highly targetable features and the costs are relatively inexpensive. If you’re just starting out, create a Facebook Page. The cost is $0 and it is a great place to establish your online presence with your already-existing network. Once you have a Facebook Page, you can easily track and understand your efforts with Facebook Insights.

If you’re keen on learning the ins and outs of Facebook – check out Facebook Blueprint. It is a great online resource teaching best practices for marketing on Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram

From individual posts to Instagram stories, it is a delicious platform for capturing the macro and micro moments. Consumers use Instagram to explore the world through beautiful imagery. It is a highly effective platform for communicating with visuals to share your brand’s story, products, services and more. Whether you choose to do an organic or paid post, Instagram integrates your content between your consumer’s feed so that they view it amongst all of the content and accounts that they follow (so it doesn’t come off like spam).

Here are some ways Instagram can help you and your business:

  • Generate awareness, interest and intent for your business, products/services and more.
  • Reach your customers through a highly creative environment.
  • Drive customers to your account profile and achieve higher website clicks and conversions.
  • Drive people in the funnel from awareness, to intent and action.
  • Produce high quality, relevant and inspiring content to engage with your audience.

A few facts and figures for consumer interaction on Instagram:

  • 80% of businesses follow a business on Instagram
  • 60% discover new products on Instagram
  • 75% take action after being inspired by a post

Twitter

Twitter is a great quick and simple method to keep customers up-to-date and connect on relevant and trending topics. Because of this, it’s an amazing tool to strengthen your connection with community and add value. Demonstrate your authority in the industry by following trends and what your competitors are up to. Focus on real time communication and use it as a tool to seek feedback and facilitate transparent conversations. This will allow you to provide better customer service and experiences with your business.

LinkedIn

Open the door for networking and greater exposure with your professional online resume and/or LinkedIn Company Page. It is one of the best places to make quality business connections with forward-thinking professionals. Remember to keep your professional profile and company page up-to-date to boost your credibility and show others you are committed to professional development. Another awesome way to improve your credibility is to seek recommendations from your network and share content/articles that show you are following hot business trends. You should also show all of your accomplishments and achievements by displaying any additional credentials or certifications you’ve earned. Go ahead and flaunt what you got!

Key Takeaways

If you want to be seen and heard, you need to hold yourself accountable to posting and updating your social profiles on a regular basis. Each week, dedicate some time to tap into what’s going on in the industry, add value by sharing, liking or commenting on relevant content and track your performance. Remember each platform offers different yet highly beneficial methods to grow your business and clientele online. Embrace each platform wholeheartedly and you’ll see a difference in no time.

Why Good Rapport is Vital to Your Business

Rapport is the real connection a business and a customer seek to achieve during their time working together. This is developed based on the assumption that both parties are genuinely interested in getting to know each other and want to add value. Understanding the importance of rapport and being able to establish a healthy, open relationship is one of the most indispensable skills and should be the paramount focus of all interactions. There are four fundamental principles of establishing and building good rapport that should be noted:

  1. Open communication

When businesses operate with the willingness to speak openly, they are fostering a safe and comfortable environment to share and learn about their customer’s needs. Focusing on communicating clearly from the onset of any relationship will build trust. It should be part of company culture, internally and externally. When open communication is practiced and held as the standard within a company, it is naturally welcomed to those external to the company such as customers and suppliers. Speaking openly encourages collaboration, cooperation, and effective decision-making.

  1. Transparency

Every business should embrace transparency as a means to improve relationships, service and loyalty. Find innovative ways to grow a deeper dialogue with your customers. Not only should you be transparent in business, but also your ability to be personally transparent can strengthen the bond between both parties. When business professionals display real human qualities, others appreciate and take interest in their vulnerability. Whether it’s sharing a little bit more about your personal life during a meeting (in a way that is relative to the conversation and isn’t perceived as self-interested) or by sharing personal thoughts, ideas, or interests on social platforms like LinkedIn, your customers will notice your effort in being yourself.

  1. Listen more than talk

Customers respond well when they feel someone has a sincere interest in them. If your customer is speaking, and expressing real concerns or interests – listen. Demonstrate that you are fully engaged and have their complete attention. By showing that their voice is the most important in the room, they will see that you genuinely care and have an interest in what they are saying. Every interaction is important, so don’t discount the conversation… even if it’s a short one.

  1. Ask the right questions

The value of your services and ability to achieve success for customers is directly reflected by your ability to ask the right questions. Make sure you understand the goals and objectives of your customers before proceeding. Don’t be afraid to ask something again or rephrase the question. Proactively clarifying what your customer has said will ensure you are both on the same page. Assumptions will only hurt you. Ask the right question, and produce the right outcome.
Take away: Transparency, clear and open communication all the way. Always.  If you have questions about how to build rapport with your customers, contact us today for a consult.

Gearing up for 2018 Advertising. What’s best for my business?

 

It’s a brand new year and the best time to re-evaluate your marketing efforts. To set your business up for success, we’ve highlighted four key areas to think about.

Social Media

With the right planning and social media strategy in place, you’ll see your business generate larger awareness, establish more relationships (and stronger ones!), and drive qualified traffic to your site.

First things first, plan out the year with a content calendar. Once you’ve mapped out the year and have a clear picture of what’s happening (what the big milestones are – i.e. events, product releases, etc.), you can then focus on creating relevant content to support these specific dates and then fill in the gaps. This is the best way to be prepared for the year and keep your social media marketing on track.

To give you a bit of guidance, your content should be a mix, and strike a balance of the following:

  • Brand posts: promote your business, website, services and/or products. This is educational but should also include strong CTA’s (call to actions).
  • Thought starter posts: share content highlighting thought leaders, bloggers and like-minded individuals who are popular in your industry.
  • Personality posts: show off your brand’s personality and what ultimately makes consumers fall in love with you. Shout out your clients/customers, share stories about their success, how you’ve made an impact, and more.

Your online presence on social media is vital, and many businesses often choose to ignore it or have a difficult time embracing it. Every business, at a minimum, should have a Facebook page and Instagram page.

Google Adwords

Because search engines control the ranking of keywords, it’s important that you don’t let your business get washed out. Be strategic by leveraging an Adwords campaign to rank higher amongst your competition and be seen across the web. Depending on your goals you can utilize Display, Search, Video, and/or App ads. Then, get specific on your ideal audience by using targeting parameters and setting the geographic region you wish to reach. As a trusted ad tool, you can feel confident by testing your ads and measuring your performance in real time.

Online Directories (Yellow Pages)

Many are starting to wonder how often Yellow Page directories are actually searched. With the competition of other directories (Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) and most people using search engines to see a full list of results, it’s becoming a less popular resource.

Since Yellow Pages directories have been around for years, organic searches tend to rank highest. Do a quick search to see if your business surfaces to the top, and if so, it may be worthwhile to list yourself in the directory. Many people still view Yellow Pages as a trusted brand, so this may be a beneficial avenue for your business.

Newspaper Advertising

Over the years, digital has become the dominant advertising space, but that doesn’t mean print is dead. Scientifically proven, people have a higher level of engagement and focus when viewing print content, and share a greater emotional response, than when content is viewed on a screen. Print content generally creates slower reading times, in turn creating stronger rates of comprehension and recall, which leaves a lasting impression and creates more sales.

Digital ads are an important and effective means of advertising, but diversifying your reach through print publications in 2018 may be the right move for your business. Don’t rule it out just yet.

Conclusion

The start of a new year is the best time to start planning out your marketing efforts. Think about what worked best in the past, and what you can fine tune and do differently to succeed going forward. Diversifying your advertising methods may be just the right thing for you. If you need assistance or have any questions, talk to an expert at Ancell Marketing.

2018 Web Design Trends you should watch for

As a business owner, it is important to communicate and convert using your website. Successful business owners know that their website needs to incorporate the latest in website design to be easily found and used across multiple platforms. Prioritizing the latest changes that must be made in order to stay ahead and be found on search engines.

Learn more about the website design trends emerging and continuing throughout 2018 today.

Minimalism Comes to Photography

As if the trend of minimalism hasn’t gone far enough with individuals simplifying their homes and lifestyles, minimalism is now set to impact photographic content. Simple and clear will continue to be visually appealing but changes may be seen with the use of vibrant colors and large fonts. Communication without the clutter is key. And minimalistic style pares down content to its essential core without losing emotional impact. In addition, when it comes to imagery, stock photos are out and more realistic portrayals of individuals from diverse backgrounds will be prominent in 2018.

Web Application Improvements Are On the Way

Apps will continue to be a hot technology while designers work on improving accessibility and functionality for users. This does not only impact the app version of websites, but also apps as communicative devices between users and their multiple devices. The value beyond “activation” is becoming apparent and many individuals are using apps within their lives from simply accessing information to controlling thermostats and security features in a home. User familiarity with apps and expanding IoT technology will be factors supporting the drive to get more value and to establish realistic benchmarks and success metrics. There will be changes to come for the average user and more affordable and refined UI solutions for SaaS founders.

A Renewed Emphasis on Mobile

Mobile-friendly design becomes more of a focus as Google begins 2018 with a new Mobile First Index. The mobile version of a website will be seen first in search results with this initiative. With the significant increase in website traffic via mobile phones continuing year after year, all website developers and website owners need to ensure that the mobile version of a website is user-friendly and functional.

Get Ready for 2018

These trends are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when we look at what changes may impact website developers and business owners in 2018. Whether a company is B2B or B2C, the trends above are sure to influence message delivery and the use of website and app interfaces.

Is your business ready to compete in an every-changing online world? For a strategic plan that gets results, contact us today.

Sources:

https://www.inman.com/2017/04/19/5-smart-home-trends-homebuyers-want-in-2017/

https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/2017-11-07-11-web-design-trends-to-watch-in-2018

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomaslaurinavicius/2017/12/20/web-design-trends-2018/#69d5e64a2375

Search Engine Ranking Factors

As business owners, we’re always looking for ways to ensure the prospective customers can find us online. One very important function of being seen is search engine optimization (SEO).

So what is search engine optimization? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. How this happens is a mystery to many and to others, it is symbolic of the pursuit of the Holy Grail.

SEMrush just completed their latest study on what is involved in ranking well in search engines and we are pleased to share some of those findings in our latest blog post however you can see full details and charts here.

Who is SEMrush? They are a SaaS (Software as a solution) product used by over 1,500,000 marketers worldwide including Ancell Marketing. It helps us better understand website and keyword performance in search engines like Google. Understanding means that we are better able to make important decisions about how to improve our customers’ online presence.

Key Takeaways of the study:

Direct website traffic is still the most influential ranking factor. That is, when many users go to a website directly it is a good sign to Google that the domain has high authority and value. User behaviour signals such as time on site, pages per session and bounce rate also influence website rankings, since they indicate website quality and relevance for users.

Backlink factors are extremely important for rankings. Except for the factors related to anchor texts, all the backlink factors share 5th place in importance. All the metrics of the backlink portfolio are interconnected and a blind manipulation of only one of them will not increase your rankings, unless you also work on the other metrics. Focus on your natural backlink profle, and try various link-building strategies.

The high search volume niche is extremely competitive and the first positions are occupied by the giants with the richest backlink portfolios. The competition is lighter in the low-volume SERPs, so extra link-building efforts will make all the difference for the page/domain rankings.

NEW!

All backlink factors impact one another. So your positions are unlikely to change if you boost the values for one factor but ignore others. 

NEW!

Branded keywords will always return more relevant but less popular websites on the first position 

NEW!

The HTTPS adoption rate is very high in the high-volume keyword group. That is, the more popular the key words are, the more possible it is that the top positions will be occupied by HTTPS domains.

So if you want to compete for high-volume keywords, having an HTTPS version of your site is extremely important. In the low-volume keyword segment, the HTTPS adoption rate is not so high, so having a secure version will significantly distinguish you from the competition.

On Page SEO Elements

On-page SEO factors such as the presence of keywords in title, meta description and body of the text proved to be significantly less influential than other factors, however the adoption rate is impressive — keyword usage is one of the most popular SEO techniques.

The quality and relevance of your content play a crucial role in the page rankings. Solely creating content of a certain length is not a panacea, and if the content is irrelevant to the user’s query it doesn’t matter how long it is — it will still be irrelevant. However, the results of our research indicate that pages that rank higher have longer content on average. So, content length is important for your page’s

success as long as it is valuable, well-written, and optimised, especially if you target high-volume keywords.

SEMrush also discovered that long-tail search queries return pages with more content on average than short heads almost 20% more. For instance, an average top-100 article on ‘graphic design’ will be shorter than an average top-100 article on ‘graphic design trends in 2017’. That is, if you are writing on a broader topic, your users do not expect a long read. If your article’s topic is narrowed down to a precise statement, then it should provide a more in-depth view.

Over 75% of the top-20 pages have keywords in their body and over 60% have them in their title. While it seems to be a common practice, the data proves that it doesn’t have a strong impact on rankings. One time-proven approach in SEO is using longer keywords for promotion, as they usually bring more relevant traffc to a website. If this is your case and you plan to rank for long-tails, having an exact-match keyword in your on-page SEO elements is not necessary. In fact, it is more important to diversify the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it. The presence of a video didn’t show a significant influence on page rankings, so we came to the conclusion that video itself is not a silver bullet. However, in certain niches clients expect video content, so it makes sense to provide it. Consider your audience’s demands, and if they include visual support, include a video.

Website Visits

One of the main indicators of a website’s popularity is its number of visits. There are a lot of ways for visitors to find your website: organic search, paid ads, social networks, direct visits, referring domains, emails, etc.

After excluding organic search and other traffic data, there is a strong connection between the number of direct visits and the page position on the SERP. This could indicate that Google prioritizes domains with more authority and consequently more direct traffic when ranking the high-volume keyword group. This also means that organic ranking is not the only thing you should be concentrating on. Direct visits are fuelled by your brand awareness, so building a strong brand image should be an essential part of your promotion strategy.

User behaviour signals

It is clear that high-ranking pages have lower bounce rates. This could be the result of the level of trust that users have for top-ranking pages, or it could mean that the lower-ranking pages are less relevant. And though Google reps declare that all user behaviour signals are too noisy to be considered during the page qualification, a high bounce rate could indicate that the page content is irrelevant, which is bad for both users and search engine bots. These results indicate that users tend to spend more time on websites that rank higher in SERPs. This could be explained by the same fact: users trust top-ranking pages more than lower-ranking ones. Just like the bounce rate and time on site trends, these results confirm that users tend to visit more pages on websites that are in the top of organic search results.

In summary, there are key factors that you need to pay attention to when considering your website ranking in Google. These include website traffic, behaviour signals, backlinks, branded keywords, HTTPS and on page optimization.

To find our more about how search engine optimization can work for your business or for a health check of your website’s SEO friendliness, contact us today.

Custom Sites Vs. Pre-Made Templates: What’s Better?

When a business needs a new website, there are two options:

  1. Purchase a template
  2. Develop and design a website with custom code

In 2017, the choice is harder than ever. On one hand, there are many templates to choose from across different platforms. On the other hand, custom websites are known to be more powerful and dependable.

Making the right choice depends entirely on your budget, what you want your site to do, and how you want your business to be perceived. Let’s look at how custom sites compare against pre-made templates.

Templates Have Limitations

There are limitations to what you can do creatively with your template website. Though some templates can give the user many options (e.g. fonts, colours, sizing options, etc.), it doesn’t lead to unique results. Your website will be in a sea of thousands of other template websites. Custom web design, on the other hand, gives you complete control over the look and feel of your website. Do you have a specific vision for what your site will look like? Is there a certain way that your site needs to behave? Hiring an experienced web developer will put you in creative control of your website. A strong web developer/designer can provide invaluable experience and skill to help you realize your creative vision.

Custom Sites Are More Scalable and Flexible

A custom-developed website can always be expanded. Need 100 new webpages? Call your web developer. When trying to manage a template, you’re locked in a box. Custom features are hard to come by with pre-made templates. Templates are largely not adaptable to the unique needs of your business.

Custom Sites Build Credibility

If a customer sees a “Created by Wix” tagline in the footer, they’re going to have some assumptions about your business. Businesses who use templates appear lazy, cheap and unprofessional. And even if this isn’t the case, the customer won’t differentiate your business from the horde of other sites that use templates.

A prospect will judge a book by its cover. This is the reason why good web design is so important. A custom-built site gives off a good first impression that will build your credibility and authority.

Templates Are More Affordable

It’s no secret that using a template is much more affordable than hiring a developer to build your site. In many cases, however, you get what you pay for. If you hire the right developer, you can have a site that’s scalable, visually attractive and built to last.

Many who elect to use templates because of the low upfront cost will often later switch to custom sites anyway because they need to expand their web presence. If you can foresee this happening in your business, it would probably be better for you if you built a custom site from the beginning.

Conclusion

A custom web site can be the better options in many ways, but templates do have some positives as well—minimal cost and upstart time. If you want dependability, scalability and credibility, pre-made templates cannot compete with custom sites. The price of a cheap template can be tempting, but if you want to build a website for longevity, a custom site is the better option.

For good advice about what you should choose, contact us today

The Importance of Website Security

There are more businesses with websites than ever before, but most webmasters don’t understand the importance of web security. Not taking security seriously will leave your site vulnerable to malicious attacks.

A successful cyber-attack can take down your site, compromise the privacy of your visitors and hurt your bottom line.

Why Do Hackers Attack?

Whether you’re a large website or a small blog, hackers don’t discriminate. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that your site isn’t dangerous and un-secure.

So, why do hackers hack? It can be for any of these reasons:

  • To steal sensitive information. Things like login credentials and credit card information can be accessed if a hack is successful.
  • Political “hacktivism”. Hackers often hack to spread a certain message or to make a statement.
  • For fun and practice. Many do it as a sort of test to sharpen their skills. Some do it because they find some enjoyment out of it. Some do it for no reason at all.

How to Protect Your Site from Attacks

Use Strong Passwords

Simple passwords leave you vulnerable to attacks. Instead, use a password that contains 8-9 characters with a mix of lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t use anything familiar like your name or your birthday; the more random, the better. Never use the same password across multiple accounts—using the same credentials for your WordPress account and your bank account can cause a major problem.

Brute force attacks can be successful when a password can be easily decoded. A brute force attack is a trial and error method of decoding sensitive information like passwords.

Keep Your Website Updated

Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in web platforms. To combat this, content management systems like WordPress are constantly updating. Updates include security fixes to thwart these online attacks. If you don’t update your site, your site will be vulnerable to many of these security issues.

Switch to HTTPS

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a communications protocol that’s used to transfer information between a website and a web server. HTTPS ensures that users are interacting with the intended server, and that no outside party can intercept the sensitive information that’s being transferred. Any site that receives and stores sensitive information like credit card info and login details should use HTTPS.

Use Security Tools

It can be hard to keep track of everything you need to do to ensure that your website is secure. This is where tools like Sitelock and Sucuri can be of help. These tools:

  • Detect if your site has been infected with malware
  • Remove any malware and eliminate any backdoor vulnerabilities
  • Protect your site from future attacks with continuous detection and web firewalls

Use Secure Web Hosting

Unsecure web hosting can leave you extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Use a hosting company that values security. Ancell Hosting offers several hosting plans that include 24/7 monitoring and DDoS protection. Have peace of mind knowing that your hosting provider can keep your website safe.

Conclusion

Many security problems are often due to a lack of attentiveness. If you don’t take your security seriously, you are vulnerable to an attack, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a large ecommerce store with thousands of customers, or if you’re a small-time blog with only a few hundred readers. Employ the advice given in this post to keep you and your site visitors safe.