How to Monitor the Health of Your Website

How to Monitor the Health of Your Website

If you aren’t monitoring your website health, you could be at serious risk and not even know about it. There are viruses and hackers at large every day online and they are looking for sites to attack. Even if you don’t have problems with a hacker, your site could be experiencing website issues that can be remedied to ensure that you give the best results to your users as well as get the best rankings possible in the search engines.

What Should You Look For?

There are so many things you can look for when you are checking your website’s health. These things include:

  • Management
  • Content & Features
  • Strategic Issues
  • Marketing & Promotion
  • Usability & Design
  • Revenue and Savings
  • Technical Issues

For your site to be functioning at its best, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the website. If you aren’t paying attention, you may find yourself dealing with a major technical problem that has your site down for days or there may be a big design flaw on your site that you don’t notice.

Whatever is going on with your site, you need to make sure that you know about it so that you can quickly fix the problem and ensure that your site is up and running.

One of the tools that you can use to make sure that your site is up and running and your hosting isn’t taking a break is a uptime status checker. When you use one of these tools, you will be able to tell if your site has gone down or if you’ve had a perfect uptime. If you notice that your site has been down, you are probably experiencing issues with your host. If you have host issues, you should contact them right away to ensure that these are fixed immediately.

When your site is down, you are losing potential subscribers and leads which means you are losing the ability to convert them into customers and so the final conclusion is that you are losing sales.

Google Analytics

Did you know that Google gives you powerful analytic tools to use for your site for free? You can check almost any metric you want to see regarding your site if you’ve set up Google Analytics on your site. There are many ways to filter information and it can get confusing, but we are going to give you some tips so you can understand how to check your website’s health with GA.

If you are going into Google Analytics, looking at your graphs and coming out as confused as when you went in, it doesn’t have to be that way.

When you look at your Google Analytics, you need to look at your site’s bounce rate. If you notice that your bounce rate is high, there is something wrong. Having a high bounce rate will hurt you in the search engines, but it is also telling you that you aren’t keeping your users on your site past the first page. This means there is little interest in what you have to say so they are clicking away from the site.

If you have a low bounce rate, that shows that people are interested in what you have to say and are finding other pages on your site helpful after viewing the initial landing page. This also leads to an increase in time on your site which is another important metric that you need to pay attention to when you are checking your site health.

Page Speed

You can check how quickly your site is loading through PageSpeed Insights. It is important to have a quick and well optimized website that provides a great user experience to your visitors. Many people are still loading websites from slow connections so ensure that your site is allowing them the quickest load possible. If you match a slow site with a slow connection, it can seem like it is taking a lifetime to load the content on your site.

The fastest your site loads, the more you will be able to retain your visitors and longer retention means more time to convert them into subscribers and then on to customers.

Continually Optimizing Your Site

Even after you have optimized your site and you see that you are getting good results, you need to keep a watch on your site. It is easier to fix small challenges than to fix big problems. If you find out that you are experiencing big problems due to no checking on your website health enough, the best time to start keeping a good check is right now.

Set up schedules and reminders that will help you stay on track with monitoring your site. Improving your site’s speed by a second could mean a world of difference for conversion so continue to test and see how you can make your site better. There are many options for optimizing available and as you are learning about your site’s health, you will see what you need specifically to improve any challenges that you might having.

Conclusion

Keeping up to day with the latest technologies and software is important for keeping your site safe and functioning properly. Make sure that you set up regular backups in case your site does have any problems and periodically check to make sure any plugins that you are using are up to date and functioning well with your CMS.

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4 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Business

4 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Business

Source

Social media platforms are big business, and when you have people like President Trump with many millions of followers on Twitter, it is not likely that its use will diminish in the foreseeable future. Facebook has passed 2 billion active users, and LinkedIn has over 380,000 professional users. That is without all the other social media platforms such as Instagram, WeChat, YouTube and Pinterest.

Businesses cannot afford to ignore social media any longer, but it needs to be handled carefully for them to feel the benefit.

Getting Your Brand Known

Social media is a great way to get your brand name known. As long as you do not bombard people with lots of written content about your products, they will see your name again and again. Images and videos are better because users are more likely to stop and look at them rather than just scroll past. Also, you should interact with people. That is how you will build up a following, and then every time you like a post or comment on one, your brand name will show.

Turning Views into Conversions

The way the human mind works, generally if they want to buy something it will be from a friend rather than a stranger. You may be a Facebook friend, but that doesn’t matter. If you sell a product they want, a friend is a friend and they are more likely to buy from you than a competitor. It is good to have a ‘View Site” button on your social media page, so that they very easily can move to your website to see the whole range of products you sell. This can be particularly useful is there is news you want to tell on your blog, either about the industry you are in or perhaps some new laws that will affect your products.

Creating a Good Customer Service

No business wants to have to man a customer service desk that is open 24 hours a day, but with social media that is exactly what you have. People can write good comments, complain or ask queries any time of day or night. Replying with positive answers is the key because then you will build trust with the viewers following the thread.

Even if someone is not saying good things about your product, there is always some way of you reacting in a positive manner. In fact, a positive reply to a bad post can do wonders for your credibility.

Analytics

If you advertise on TV, radio or in print, you have no real way of knowing how many people have seen it. With social media, there are analytical tools that can record for you who has seen what, the times of day your posts were viewed and lots of other information that can help you to target the right audience.

These are just 4 of the many ways that social media can help your business. Having an online presence is vital for all businesses to succeed, and social media platforms are a brilliant way of achieving that goal.

4 Methods to Make Your Business Website Stand Out

4 Methods to Make Your Business Website Stand Out

Some people call it the “it factor”: the idea that the most compelling people, places, and things have an ineffable charm and an intrinsic quality that simply can’t be recreated. Unfortunately, there’s no way to measure, collate, analyze, or reproduce “it” –– whatever “it” is. However, in the world of business, professionals need to deal with tangibles; they have no use for fanciful musings or unsupported theories. Instead, when designing a professional website, business owners should have a well-developed plan on how they’re going to separate themselves from the competition. To that end, here are four concrete ways to make your company’s website stand out from the pack:

Make Everything Easy

This shouldn’t come as a revelation: customers love convenience. So when you’re creating your website you should work to ensure that everything about it is intuitive and easy to understand. You don’t want your leads struggling to find products or services buried deep within your website. Furthermore, streamline your online store to promote easy use and mitigate against consumers exiting your site at the last possible second.

Avoid Gimmicks

Websites that utilize gimmicks and give into fads just look tacky and unprofessional. Remember that it’s okay show some personality and be lighthearted, but at the end of the day your website should focus on serving your customers. If you’re sacrificing functionality for something inessential, then rethink your priorities.

Optimize Products and Services

Companies that don’t bother writing appropriate headlines and meta descriptions for their website are always going to struggle to make progress in a crowded marketplace. Rather than sticking with the generic back-end settings, give proper weight to keywords and phrases that actually explain what you do –– and label your pages accordingly. Chances are people on search engines will go looking for specific products and services, instead of your company’s moniker. Note that whatever it is your company specializes in –– from vintage guitars to doctor loans –– your emphasis should first and foremost be on the product or service you provide. 

Use Original Visuals

Companies that use original visuals tend to stand out more than those that stick to stock images or videos. When used on your site or on social media, visuals can tell a story and help build trust with your brand. In addition to photos, the use of visuals like custom infographics, gifs, or animations will really set you apart. If you are serious about your branding, there is nothing more effective for storytelling than video. Learn about video production processes and formulate your own story that you can use to help sell products, establish your brand, or showcase customer testimonials, all on your website.

Answer Tough Questions

Consumers value a website that provides valuable insight. Plain and simple, if you’re able to deliver cogent content consistently, you’ll likely attract qualified leads to your site. Pertinent and timely blogs, smart videos, and the occasional guest post will go a long way toward helping differentiate your site from the competition. Don’t flatter to deceive on your site; rather, get down to brass tacks and give your visitors the information they’re looking for. Odds are, you’ll see the rewards of that effort sooner rather than later.

How imagery influences website engagement

How imagery influences website engagement

If your website isn’t encouraging visitors to interact, share, click, register, visit, or buy, it’s not doing its job. The strategic purpose of investing in a quality website is to connect with potential clients, customers, or fans, build brand recognition, and convert visitors to engaged followers or customers.

The right imagery can support grabbing, holding, and encouraging the attention of visitors. It’s a main element in creating shareable content and a web experience with which visitors will happily engage. If you have a substantial budget, a skilled photographer and a talented graphic designer can supply content-specific imagery, but if that’s out of reach, you can easily access images from stock image sites, from which you can download free here.

If you want to create a strategy that maximizes website engagement, there are five types of visual content you should consider:

Banners and wallpaper

Banners and wallpaper imagery help you to craft a consistent, appealing brand experience on your website. Create a unified feel across the site by using a limited palette of colors or by choosing images with thematic similarities. Current trends in website design often feature a single large photo or design at the top of each page or post that supports or extends the topic of the content. A good banner communicates that a brand is up to date and professional and is worth attention. Wallpaper graphics add visual interest to backgrounds or fill an entire screen for a graphics-first experience, with text layered on top or following when users scroll down. This design trend feels fresh and immersive and can help your brand feel more likable and engaging to visitors.

Photographs

While banners and wallpaper may be photograph or graphic based, using photographs in-line with content can also be a good strategy. Break up large blocks of text with photos to hold interest and make information more enjoyable and easy to scan through for visitors. Use photography to illustrate or extend ideas from the text where possible. Good photographs can encourage content sharing, boosting your organic reach via social media. Be cautious with stacking or cluttering the space with too many photos, though. Remember to include ample white space and follow layout best practices. If you sell products, custom photos of the products are a necessity.

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics are a fun alternative to photography and may suit your brand or offer more flexibility in portraying an idea or accompanying a topic. Illustrations and vector graphics may be placed in a sidebar location or alternated with text like photos. Vector graphics are ideal because they can scale up or down to suit the space without losing resolution. Draw from the enormous pool of premade graphics in a good stock image store, or commission custom graphics to suit pages and articles if you prefer. Graphics are a useful way to illustrate services since stock photos for professionals could seem cheesy in that context.

Video

Video is preferred in search and on social media, which is a huge opportunity for your website and brand. Keep videos short for best results. You can embed them on pages to accompany things like products, services, and informational content, as well as using them in content marketing campaigns on social media. Good stock imagery sites offer stock video that you can adjust with custom text and/or voiceovers. If you’re finding your website and social media efforts aren’t getting the traction you want, adding or switching to video content can give you an instant boost in visibility and sharing.

Infographics

Make the most of your content with infographics. These combine graphics or illustrations with informational content to visually show the data or convey an idea at a glance. They are excellent for engagement and sharing because visitors can scan them and get a snapshot of what you’re trying to communicate at a glance.

Boost engagement and make the most of your website and social media efforts with the correct use of high-quality graphics. Photos or illustrations are great for creating appealing layouts, page headers, and breaking up content. For e-retailers, crisp, attractive photos of products are a must, while service providers may have more success with illustrations or vector graphics.

Infographics are highly shareable at-a-glance snapshots of information and ideas. Video keeps visitors on the page longer, can convey more information and strengthen your brand reputation, and improves search rankings and social media sharing and visibility. You can work with specialist creators for custom content or draw on the deep pool of creative content provided by good stock imagery providers to craft an engaging site that regularly converts visits in

4 Reasons Why Every Startup Needs a Website

4 Reasons Why Every Startup Needs a Website

When starting a new business, there are some things you can go without and some things which are an absolute necessity. Unless you have access to unlimited funding, which is doubtful in most cases, you need to prioritize spending, but the one thing which you should never do without is a website. Every startup needs a web presence, even if you will not be doing business online. Why? Here are 4 good reasons why you cannot go without a website.

1. This Is How You Will Be Found

As far back as 2012, Search Engine Land conducted a survey on how people find local businesses. At that time, the statistics were already staggering. Of those surveyed, 85 percent stated that they conducted an online search for local businesses.

Since then, Google has made major changes to their search algorithms and it is now even more important to have a website, but more importantly, a responsive website. Since most of those searching for new businesses will be conducting mobile searches, make sure your website is responsive so that Google will rank you highly in the mobile SERPs. If you want to be found quickly as a new business, a website is a must!

2. A Website Helps Build Brand Awareness

When someone finds your website, you have the perfect opportunity to tell them who you are, what you do, and why you are better than the competition. What do you have to offer in your market that no one else has? Here is where you can set yourself up in a position of authority.

A blog is a great way to establish trust in your brand because you are giving your visitors tangible information they can use. Brand awareness is something many startups fail to achieve but with the right website and reliable hosting, you can be the go-to expert in your niche.

3. A Place to Offer the Ultimate in Customer Service

Great customer service will be high on the list, so remember that accessibility is a key factor. There is a general lack of great customer service and one of the major complaints among consumers is not being able to contact anyone who can help with questions or address complaints. Keep in mind that you will need web hosting that is online at least 97 percent of the time.

Check out reviews on sites like hostingkingdom.com to see what other startups and customers are saying about reliable hosting. If you can’t be reached, how can you expect to satisfy customers? Therefore, your website must offer more than one way to contact you. Fillable forms are great as are chat features, email addresses and at least one phone number where your customer service team can be reached.

4. A Way to Own Your Market

Until you’ve watched the competition pass you by, you’ll never truly understand the importance of a website for your local business. Remember, this is how people find you and how you tell them who you are. Give them a way to ask all the questions they need answered and you’ll have a customer for life. A website will help you establish your presence, build brand, and with the right strategies, you can literally own your market.

Cyber Crime and How to Handle it

Cyber Crime and How to Handle it

Cybercrime is a hideous type of crime, and a poorly understood one, because it is one that causes no physical injury. But it is everywhere and it encompasses everything from having your identity stolen to see your children bullied. This has even ended up in suicides, in fact. Cybercrime is an easy crime to commit, but it has a huge impact on individuals and on society as a whole. And because it can be done in so many different ways, it seems to truly have taken over the world. All that someone needs is a computer, and they can attack anyone they fancy.

Technology has some fantastic advantages, but these advantages are also curses. The fact that so much data can be stored in such a small place, for instance, is both a blessing and a curse. The easy accessibility the internet gives us to people and businesses, is both a blessing and a curse.

There are logic bombs, email bombs, denial service attacks, salami attacks, data theft, viruses, web jacking, and so on. And nobody is safe from it either. Women, children, the elderly, and others who are often classed as the most vulnerable in society are targeted, but so are the huge corporations, celebrities, conglomerations, and so on.

Then, there is the issue of intellectual property right. When someone creates something, such as a song, a video, or a piece of art, it becomes theirs. But as soon as it is posted online, people feel they have the right to use it, share it, and change it. And sometimes, elements are stored online, but they are not supposed to be accessible to all. For instance, cloud storage enables people and businesses to store all their data off-site, but this data is meant to be protected, encrypted, and secured.

So what can be done? According to experts like Matthew Knouff, the key lies in having proper cyberlaws in place. His particular area of focus is on social media ethics and on eDiscovery procedures, both of which are very important in terms of cybercrimes. He believes that, when proper regulations are put in place and adhered to, the situation will become much better for everybody involved, and it will actually become possible to simply enjoy the advantages technology gives us. Only blessings, no more curses, in other words.

eDiscovery, for instance, is about ensuring that data is stored properly (safely, securely, and in a way that can easily be searched). In so doing, it ensures that when something does go wrong, and litigation follows, it becomes possible for businesses to clearly demonstrate who did what, when, where, and how. And it will also show exactly where the breach came from, in case of cybercrimes. eDiscovery has many other benefits, but this is one of the key elements of it that will help people the world over in terms of being safer online. This is something that should be applauded and that everybody should work towards.

Cyber Attacks a Big Threat for Networks

Cyber Attacks a Big Threat for Networks

Internet users are vulnerable and exposed to different online threats. Many users are prone to cyber attacks each day. Cybersecurity has become one of the most important aspects at the moment. A group known as OurMine hacked HBO’s social media accounts and leaked unwatched episode of Game of Thrones Season 7. This is a major blow for the satellite TV network. Recently HBO was hacked by another group, hackers entered HBO’s servers and browsed through its internal documents and unreleased TV shows.

Hackers who name themselves “Mr Smith Group” have also threatened to leak the finale of Game of Thrones Season 7 before its air date after they released HBO social media passwords. The group is demanding a huge payout amounting to $6.5 million as ransom.  On the other hand, reports from the Pentagon states that cyber threat to national security is growing. Pentagon is looking into an option of using cyber security shield to safe guard its military information. This shield is called Blockchain Technology.

Blockchain Technology

The Blockchain Technology is regarded as a secure firewall for networks, especially where a lot of financial transactions take place like internet gambling services. Blockchain Technology is a technological innovation of Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses this technology to protect its accounts from hacks.  It records valuable information especially transaction between two parties into incorruptible blocks not only financial information but any essential information. Once the block is created it is stored into permanent data and another new block is created. Blockchain is designed to be secure and these blocks are resistant to any changes without altering all the blocks.

Therefore make information safe from any threat. Blockchain is useful in recording health information, events, financial transaction processing, and records management including documentation and identity management. It is designed to protect the company’s units and departments. It is also usable on aeroplanes, connected vehicles, and satellites.

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

If you want to be able to do business online, you have to make sure that you keep your name visible to potential customers. But you also have to make sure that what people see is positive. This is why SEO and branding is hugely important, but reputation management should be your top priority.

Building a Positive Reputation

Before any of your marketing and SEO efforts can pay off, people have to recognize your brand as a trustworthy and authority source. Once you have established that reputation, you have to make sure it is maintained as well. If you are a new business, your first step should be, therefore, to create positive content and to nurture this as much as possible. This is a lot of hard work, particularly since the world is so competitive nowadays. Customer service has to be your top priority, as this will help to build your positive reputation.

You simply cannot leave this as an afterthought. If you do, any other effort you engage in to build trust won’t work, and you will end up having to invest heavily in damage control. Hence, reputation management should be your first important action if you want your business to succeed.

You Need Positive Feedback

Every business wants to have happy, satisfied customers. Your goal should be to make them talk about that, however, thereby building your reputation. You can achieve that in a variety of different ways. Firstly, you need to list any products you sell on websites that allow for reviews, such as Amazon. Secondly, you need to have a Facebook business page with review options switched on. Thirdly, you need to make sure your website has a customer feedback form included on it. Last but not least, you should list on local directory sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, again ensuring that people can find you and talk about you. You should also make sure that you link to all of these pages on your website, your social media accounts, and any online communication and newsletters you send out.

Stand Out with Reputation Management

You must pay very close attention to what is said about you, so you can truly benefit from it. Indeed, you can even benefit from negative comments, so long as you address them properly. If someone looks you up and sees a negative review, but then also sees that you have tried to remedy the issue, they will be far more forgiving. They old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” continues to ring true today.

You may feel confused about choosing a marketing plan that works for you, and that is no surprise considering everything is suddenly online, competition is fierce, and changes are made on a daily basis. But if you take reputation management as your starting point, and consider that everything you do online is to give people the opportunity to see you in a positive light, you will come a long way.

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Email conversations can be professional or just a bit of fun. Either way, it is information that comes out of your head, which means that you own it. Not just that, you may even suddenly find that you actually need it again, at which point you have to be able to find it somewhere among the thousands of emails you have sent. That is when you suddenly find you need email archive solutions.

These solutions are in place to make sure you are compliant with a range of different federal regulations. Those have been put in place to make sure businesses comply with e-discovery requests, and they have a legal obligation to be able to do that. But organizations have multiple employees, who all send hundreds of emails a day. So how is it possible to find anything in among all of that?

Why Are Email Archiving Strategies Needed?

Different regulations have put rules in place in terms of how long emails have to be stored. Consider, for instance, that you probably come into work on a Monday morning to around 200 unread messages, and you will start to understand the volume of this task. Yet, you have to keep all of those messages somehow because you could face some very serious penalties if you didn’t.

Some of the risks you run by not having email archiving solutions include:

  • Hefty financial penalties.
  • Imprisonment.
  • Having to settle in lawsuits because you cannot provide the necessary information.
  • Losing a lawsuit because you cannot evidence your point of view.
  • Loss of intellectual property.

One of the worst offenses you can commit is destroying emails that do not go in your favor. This is classed as obstruction of justice and can lead to your imprisonment. Not just that, in a litigation, you will be presumed guilty for destroying the evidence.

When someone provides you with an e-discovery request, you only have a limited amount of time to present the evidence they have requested. This means that you have to have solutions in place that allow you to quickly and accurately retrieve information. Email archiving solutions can do this, and you even have three options to choose from. Those are:

  1. On-site solutions.
  2. Hosted solutions.
  3. Cloud solution.

There are a few things you need to consider to help you choose between these different solutions, including:

  1. Is the solution cost-effective? Generally speaking, having a solution on site is the most expensive, because it means you also have to run, operate, maintain, and update the service. Cloud storage is usually the cheapest.
  2. Is the solution reliable? If it is unstable, clunky, or regularly crashes, you still won’t be able to comply with e-discovery requests.

E-discovery and email archiving may sound complex, but it isn’t all that bad. Once you have the right solution in place for your needs, it basically runs itself. Just make sure you spend some time comparing the available options to get the right one.

What You Should Look For in the Perfect Online Program

What You Should Look For in the Perfect Online Program

Online degrees are fast growing in popularity because of the many advantages they offer. However, not all online colleges are created equal and many people end up with diplomas with little or no value as a result. But there are some tips that you can follow to make sure that you have a valuable diploma in your hands that will be accepted by most reputable organizations. In this article, we’re going to show you what you should be looking for in an online college.

How Long has the College been Established for

A large portion of online programs are established by colleges that are decades old and in some cases more than a century old. In these cases, the reputation of your diploma is backed by the institution and it usually has the same level of recognition as their brick and mortar diplomas. However, if you’re dealing with a newly established college, you have to check their partnerships and reputation in the educational community, and among employers and alumni. This will be the best way to gauge whether they are respected or not.

Is the University Accredited

Accreditation is perhaps the most important aspect of enrolling in any online program. Accreditation more or less works as an insurance policy that ensures the legitimacy of your education. Most reputable institutions will not honor a diploma from an unaccredited institution, especially when it comes to sectors such as healthcare for instance. Online MHA degrees are a dime a dozen, but even if you’re enrolled in the best online MHA program around, the chances of it being honored by a reputable healthcare facility are slim to none.

Does it Offer Transfer Credits

One of the first things you should be looking for when choosing an online program is if it offers a direct graduation route. This is the best way to keep your level of student debt to a minimum and increase your odds of obtaining your diploma on time. Online institutions that allow you to transfer your credits will usually be more likely to offer a direct path to graduation.

Will the Program help you Actually Secure a Position?

One of the major mistakes people make when enrolling for any program is piling up a ton of useless credits that will get them nowhere when trying to secure a position in their particular field. Before you enroll in any college, make sure you get a degree plan first. You should also check placement rates and employment rates of students in your field. Check the value of your degree among prospective employers as well to make sure that the diploma will open doors for you once you get out

Conclusion

Finding a great online program is a pretty straightforward process when you know how to go about it. Before you decide to go for a particular college, make sure that they are accredited first and foremost. Also, make sure that it has a solid reputation in the educational community, with employers and alumni. Make sure that the college you choose to go through offers a direct path to graduation and also make sure that the program you choose will actually be able to realistically land you a position once you graduate.