Small Buisness Web Sites


Setting Up Minimal Viable Security

December 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Website strategy No Comments »

What is the minimum that a web owner or administrator should consider for security of their site and the content? This is a question lots of people wonder about. They typically do not take any action until they have been compromised in some manner. Then it is too late. Setting up minimal viable security is actually quite simple, it just takes a little effort on a regular basis depending on the size and complexity of your site.

Always use a content management system. They will help you to be much more efficient and consistent with the design of your site and also any updates that are needed across the entire site. WordPress is a very popular site that many web owners use. Always keep it and the templates you use up to date to protect from any vulnerabilities and hacking attempts.

What Other Things are Needed for Setting Up Minimal Viable Security

Choose Your Host Provider

Your host provider should have good account isolation between your account and anyone else who is on a shared server. If not, a hacker who gets into another site can easily migrate to your site and compromise it. There are lots of hosting providers. Choose one that has been in business for some time and one that has a good record.

Keep Your Content Management System Up To Date

Always update your CMS (WordPress), themes and plugins as soon as they are available. Updates will include bug fixes, vulnerabilities that are plugged and new features that may be of interest. Always use a reliable source for any themes or plugins that are employed on your site.

Use Strong Passwords

Use a password generator to generate your passwords. They will be strong and more difficult to break using blunt force attack approaches. Caps, lower case, numbers and special characters should always be used. Keep your passwords unique across various sites and applications to provide added security.

Delete Old Account Names

If you had a guest account or an account for a writer that is no longer doing work for you, remove the account. There should not be old accounts that are lying around that could be exploited. Only provide access to trusted resources with limited functionality.

Avoid using Default Account Names

Most content management systems including WordPress use the default account name, Admin. Everyone knows this and it is one less thing the blunt force hackers have to try to figure out if you are still using this account name, Change the name before you begin adding a lot of content. Rename your account name now if you are still using Admin.

Use Automatic Updates

If you maintain many sites, you will appreciate the time saving nature of this suggestion. Also it means that if an update is provided to plug a hole, your site will be updated quickly before anyone has a chance to break into it.

Install Firewalls and Malware Scan

Wordfence is one that provides both in a free version as well as a paid subscription with more features. These systems will scan IP’s coming to your site, monitor their activity and block them if they are suspected of nefarious activity. There are literally millions of attempted hacks every day and these systems are constantly updated to catch the latest techniques and block them.

The may seem a lot to cover for Setting Up Minimal Viable Security, however in today’s world it appears that this is what we need to do to protect ourselves. For more information on cyber security and protecting your content, click here.

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SEO Outsourcing Strategies

October 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Website strategy No Comments »

SEO outsourcing strategiesShould your small business outsource your web site design and SEO work? Maybe you want more control over the resources and would like to have them located within your organization. Every company will have different SEO outsourcing strategies depending on their size and and more importantly their objectives. At the extreme if you just need a basic web site, outsourcing is definitely the way to go. All you need to do is provide the basic information about your company and an outsource web site development company can have your web site up in no time.

Conversely a company who has a lot of content, changing content, and a specific target market may want to bring the content and web site development in house. Then there is the location of your SEO team and who they should report to. So many questions and all you want is a web site.

SEO Outsourcing Strategies

There are many different situations that will drive various SEO outsourcing strategies. The following are situations, economic, manpower and expertise issues that should be considered in your decision. In every category, there needs to be someone accountable within the company who has a mandate to drive an online presence and controls the budget as well. If there is no budget it is a non starter as far as building a web site.

If there is no leader or person accountable for the website regardless of who designs and builds it, the site may be doomed. Some person must take ownership for all of the decisions both technical as well as design. It does not mean they need to be experts in the field, but they do need to own the decisions and the process.

Small Companies – with few employees, they have little time to spend on design, development and maintenance of a site. Most will outsource these functions and relay on the outsource company to provide all of the necessary technical and SEO expertise.

Medium Size Companies – May have a small group or at least one resource dedicated to the online presence and website activities. Large projects will be outsourced, while day to day maintenance may be completed by this resource. He or she is still responsible for the overall design and development of the site and the content that is presented on line. They need to work with other internal resources to make sure messages are clear and on target for whatever the objective of the site is.

Large Companies – will often have a large in house team responsible for everything to do with the companies internal and external sites. They will interface with other members of the company to collect content ideas, marketing ideas, customer support information etc. It is their job to make sure it is current and up to date.

Other Factors for SEO outsourcing strategies

Online Retail – these sites require a great deal of tweaking and customization to ensure they are current and up to date. Financial functions must run smoothly and accurately. Control, site design should definitely be in house, although the ongoing development work is often outsourced.

Information – sites are often more static and do not need the constant updating that many other sites require. Once the site is developed and online, the maintenance etc can often be handled internally by single resources.

Security and Summary

Security – Responsibility is definitely internal, however the field of security is complex and changing all of the time. Hackers will constantly be looking for ways to gain access to the companies server. Many companies employ an internal resource who may work closely with outsourced security resources.

All of these categories as well as internal company politics must be considered when you are developing your companies SEO outsourcing strategies.

 

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What Percentage of Duplicate Content is Acceptable

September 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Website strategy No Comments »

what percentage of duplicate content is acceptableOne of our readers asked the question, “what percentage of duplicate content is acceptable?”. This is actually a very complex question. The easy answer is that website owners should not have any duplicate content. But what about things like addresses and phone numbers that might appear on many posts? Or what about warranty and guarantee information that might have its own page, but is repeated on other service related pages? There are numerous legitimate situations involving duplicate content. Sometimes writers will quote other websites and provide links to them. Technically this is also duplicate content, however as long as it is referenced and there are links to the original content it should be ok.

What Percentage of Duplicate Content is Acceptable – Search Engines

There is truly a fine line that writers use to create content and avoid being labeled as duplicate content. Even referrals are questionable if too much of the original content is used on different pages. What do the various search engines think about this. Obviously they want to have all original high quality content on all index-able pages.

Even Matt Cutts at Google admits that some content will be duplicate, however it should be a small percentage of your overall content. He would prefer that writers address customer questions and try to help readers rather than spend time copying other peoples content.

We decided to include content that search engines love and answer the question.

  • Posts that are in excess of 1200 words, however shorter posts that answer a readers questions are fine too. Don’t add fluff just to get to 1200. Provide real value to the reader.
  • Use meaningful keywords, keywords that readers actually use in their searches. You may have to do some research to find them.
  • Add Content that lasts. If it is relevant today, it should also be relevant 2 years from now. Make it readable with bullets and short paragraphs.
  • Readers love pictures. Use pictures and label this properly so that they can be indexed by the search engines and provide something of value to your readers.
  • The title is the first thing your readers see. It should be engaging and interesting. You want readers to open your page based on the hints in the title and the meta data that the search engines provide.

The bottom line is add valuable content that readers need to help them solve whatever problems they may have. Write it to last for many years and be relevant.

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Basic small business website strategy

February 21st, 2014 ernie Posted in Website strategy No Comments »

small business website strategyAll websites, regardless of whether they are for large companies or small businesses should always have a set of objectives. They should have a strategy for achieving those objectives. The objective should be geared towards whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve with the website. It should support your objectives to increase sales or to drive business to the company.

One area the web developer should pay particular attention to is the quality of the content, the freshness of the content and the ability for the search engines to index their content.

We have all encountered websites where the content is almost next to useless. These have been written just to obtain search engine results. But they do not offer anything to the consumer or anyone searching on the Internet for a particular topic.

The search engines are trying to de-index these websites and this is the main reason why website should have excellent content and why the content should be kept fresh.

Old content can quickly become out of date and as far as the search engines are concerned will be given a lower index rating as a result. In addition if this content is about your products or services, business owners will want to ensure that the content is kept up-to-date and currently reflects the services and products that you offer.

We have developed the following strategy for keeping our content up-to-date on our own websites. Our websites are principally aimed at providing information to the consumer and therefore we recognize the value of that content being kept up-to-date and accurately reflecting current issues as well as information that consumers are looking for. Here’s our strategy.

Small Business Website Strategy – New Content

Depending on the subject of the website and reader interest, new content will be added at least twice a month and in some cases once a week to provide readers with new information about the subjects they are interested. This also tells the search engines that new content is available to be indexed for consumers conducting searches on these particular topics on a regular basis.

Update Content

Older content should be reviewed and updated on regular basis to keep it current and fresh. There are several ways to do this and our decision has been to focus on older content that is short duration as well as on older content that has not been touched for sometime.

Posts are sorted based on size from smallest to largest. The smallest post is an updated by adding more content that will increase it in size than the next smallest post. On average our posts will be come larger overtime. At the same time, all punctuation and grammatical errors are corrected.

Tweak Content

Some of our posts already pretty good and just need to be updated to show that there still current to the search engine crawlers that crawl websites every second of every minute of every day. We sort all posts based on the last time that they were updated and then update the oldest post. We may add a few comments or improve the content of the post in some manner.

All of this work is aimed at keeping our website current. We are following these steps typically once a week or once every two weeks depending on the website.

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