Month: July 2017

How TO NOT Screw up Your Canonical Tags

The incorrect application of canonical tags might be ruining your past and current SEO efforts. This is because the use of canonical tags is a widely known advanced SEO technique/strategy for dealing with duplicate content or a page that is accessible through multiple URLs. So, if you do not know how to properly use a

How TO NOT Screw up Your Canonical Tags was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

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Google Data Studio: Using Google Sheets as a Data Source

Data Studio lets us visualize data from many sources. At Distilled, we’ve been using Google Sheets to do most of our reporting for years. It works well—but transitioning to Data Studio is so satisfying.

Continue reading >>

Google Data Studio: Using Google Sheets as a Data Source was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

INFOGRAPH: 5 Steps to Create the Perfect Meta Description

Meta descriptions are essentially your way of showcasing what you want people to see – the high level of your page in search results. They matter because click-through rate matters, and if you write them well and follow a few simple principles you can increase your site traffic.   Step One: Start with an action

INFOGRAPH: 5 Steps to Create the Perfect Meta Description was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Getting Optimum Performance Out Of Your WordPress Site

Your website is ground zero for all of your online marketing. Whether you are using video, social media, adwords – you name it, everything points back to your website to convert visitors into customers. However, if your site isn’t performing at it’s peak, then you maybe losing sales. Here are some great tips to make sure you are getting the maximum potential out of your WordPress site.

How To Optimize Your WordPress Website

Optimizing Your WordPress Site

There are a lot of factors that come into play when optimizing your site not only for search engines, but customers as well. As search engines become smarter, it does get a little easier to combine your optimization efforts to please both.

If you have followed any of our posts on Web Design, you know that we have been mentioning for awhile that your site needs to load fast. If your site doesn’t load in just a couple of seconds, users will hit the back button to go to another site. Site load speed is also a ranking factor in search engines. So making sure your site loads fast is probably one of the biggest factors in getting the most out of your site. To learn more about how to make your site load faster, see our post “Speed Up Your Site For Better Rankings And UX“.

Website Hosting

The next thing that must be mentioned is hosting. If you have your site on subpar host, then your site will be lacking. In fact it can hurt not only your site load speed, but user engagement as well. “How” you may ask? Well this was just covered in an article by Chris Garret on CopyBlogger and his tenth point:

 

Hosting with a company that prevents or punishes your success

This last one will catch you by surprise at the worst moment.

You get your 15 minutes (or 15,000 visitors) of fame, only for your host to tell you … nope! Not on their watch.

They shut you down.

There it is, in the fine print of your hosting contract … you’re only allowed a certain number of visitors or so much bandwidth … which means all your new prospects land on a page that says your website is down.

It’s smart to keep your costs manageable when you’re starting out, but losing potential customers because of penny-pinching isn’t so smart.

If you currently have cheap “hobby” hosting, you need to ask yourself:

How many clients or customers can I afford to lose to a bad web experience?

Read Chris’ full article “10 Often Overlooked Website Mistakes that May Harm Your Business

It’s a great point from Chris. We like how he makes the connection between cheap hosting and “hobby” hosting. It’s true. You need to stop and ask yourself if it’s worth saving a few hundred dollars a year on hosting costs that could literally be costing your business tens of thousands of dollars in sales due to a slow loading site or not loading because of exceeding your monthly bandwidth. Are you running a business, or is it just a hobby??

Next we move onto more things on your WordPress site itself. We have covered about how important it is to keep your site’s themes and plugins updated. “Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked” explains how important these updates are in keeping your site secure. Sometimes these updates can also lead to how well your site performs, or doesn’t.

But what about your site’s database and links? One of our favorite writers, Colin Newcomer, just made a post on WPKube that covers this:

Clean and Optimize Your Database

When you first install WordPress, your database starts off so clean and tiny. But as you start “living” in your site, your database starts picking up all kinds of junk. It’s like dust in your house. You didn’t do anything to “cause” the dust…but it still accumulates and makes everything look dirty.

Posts revisions, transients, table overhead, spam comments, and more do that to your database. Each individual database entry isn’t a big deal…but combined (like those specks of dust), they can make your site a big sluggish.

Thankfully, they’re easy to clean up. All you need to do is run a plugin like WP-Sweep. Nothing to configure – just install, head to Tools → Sweep and clean up your various tables:

You can also Sweep All at the bottom of the page – though I don’t recommend it because you might wipe out your drafts. It’s usually better to go through each category individually to ensure you don’t remove important information.

Check for Broken Internal and External Links

Broken links are bad for user experience and, to a lesser extent, SEO. They make it harder for humans to use your site and robots to crawl your site. They’re difficult to find manually…but with the right tool (Broken Link Checker), you can instantly sniff out every single broken link on your WordPress site.

While the plugin does have some advanced settings, for most sites, you can just install it and head to Tools → Broken Links:

You can hover over each link to quickly edit it or remove the link.

Because some people say that Broken Link Checker can slow down the wp-admin dashboard, I recommend only enabling the plugin specifically when you want to check for broken links.

Read Colin’s Full Article “9 WordPress Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Site Running Smoothly

Those are some really good tips. However, before adding any plugins to your site, make sure you back it up first as they may conflict with others and cause the dreaded “white screen of death”. We would also advise that with both of these plugins you deactivate them when not in use as Colin points out with Broken Link Checker. This brings us to our last point –

wordpress plugins

Plugins

One of the greatest things about WordPress are the plugins. There are thousands of them. What you must remember is that “the more the better” rule DOES NOT apply here. Too many plugins will slow down your site, while some plugins are hogs and can really slow things down. As a general rule, we try and stay away from “Swiss Army Knife” plugins that do “everything” for you as they tend to be the worst. Also, the more plugins you are running the greater your chances of having a conflict resulting in again the “white screen of death” or the site not functioning properly leading to poor user experience.

Try and use the minimum amount of plugins as possible to get your needs done. It’s a good idea to regularly check your plugins and if you are not using them, deactivate and uninstall to keep from slowing down your site and minimize the risk of plugin conflict.

Summing It Up

Getting optimum performance from your website really starts with your hosting. With a low cost hosting provider you may be saving a few bucks, but losing thousands in lost revenue due to customers leaving your site before they even see it. Try and use the plugins that Colin recommends to clean up your database and links. Cleaning your database will mostly only benefit your load times, but broken links can not only impact rankings, but user experience as well. Just these few things can have a real impact on how well your site performs.

If you need help with optimizing your website, need a website rebuild, or just need a web design service, visit us at MD Internet Marketing Solutions

Getting Optimum Performance Out Of Your WordPress Site Read more on: MD Internet Marketing Solutions Digital Marketing Blog

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Getting Optimum Performance Out Of Your WordPress Site posted first on http://mdinternetmarketing.weebly.com

The Only Factor: The key to high-performing webpages

In this Quick Win episode, Flint McGlaughlin optimizes a webpage submitted by Issues Ink. The webpage does a good job of answering two of the three questions customers ask, but it fails to answer the most critical one. Watch the video to learn how to avoid this pitfall and get the highest response rate.

The Only Factor: The key to high-performing webpages was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Adapting Your SEO Strategy When Your Business Changes

SEO Specialists should be able to adapt to Google’s changes on the fly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that for SEO, you either adapt or you die. I can’t stress how crucial it is for any SEO to be ready to accept any changes in the industry and to always be informed on the

Adapting Your SEO Strategy When Your Business Changes was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked?

How Secure Is Your Website?

You may be the owner of a small business with a small website and think your website isn’t a target for hackers. After all, what would a hacker want with your website? Your website might be just about your services that doesn’t contain any customer information. Why would a hacker even bother with your “little” site? You might be surprised about what hackers can do with your site once they infiltrate it and what they can do.

Is your website at risk of being hacked?

 

We are sticklers about website security. We have also taken on customers that have had their site hacked. It’s no fun. Every site that we have dealt with that has been hacked did not have any person’s personal information whatsoever. So why did the hackers bother with these sites?

If you are using our favorite CMS – WordPress, it’s really very simple. It’s all about the numbers. As of last year (2016), WordPress websites accounted for around 26% of the websites on the web. So with over a Billion sites on the web that equates to around 250 million of them being on WordPress. It’s a numbers game for hackers, why not create one bot that can have the most effect and best chances of succeeding.

What Will Hackers Do With Your Site?

What does a hacker want with your site? Install malware to try and infect visitors computers, try and spread their political views, try and gain access to the server your site is hosted on, and probably sometimes, some geek with too much time on their hands.

So how do these hackers get into your site in the first place? A rather large list was made on WPMUDEV.org recently that has some of the most used techniques:

How Hackers Compromise Websites

When writing code, it’s near impossible to not create any security holes whatsoever. When hackers find these vulnerabilities, they exploit them and you’re left with a compromised site.

There are are also other ways a site could be vulnerable including human error such as using passwords that are easy to guess as well as insecure or unreliable hosting.

There are a number of commonly exploited and potential WordPress vulnerabilities including:

  • SQL Injection (SQLI) – Occurs when SQL queries and statements can be entered and executed from a site’s URL
  • Cross-site Scripting (XSS) – A hacker can inject code into a site, typically through an input field
  • File Upload – A file with malicious code is uploaded to a server without restriction
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) – Code or strings are entered and executed from a site’s URL
  • Brute Force – Constantly trying to log in by guessing the admin’s account username and password
  • Denial of Service (DoS) – When a site goes down due to a steady stream of traffic coming from a hackbot
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – Similar to a DoS attack, except the hackbot is sending traffic from multiple sources such as infected computers or routers
  • Open Redirect – Occurs due to a vulnerability and it’s a site’s page that’s redirected to a different one that’s set by a hacker and is often spam or a phishing site
  • Phishing (Identity Theft) – A site or page created by a hacker that looks like a well-known, commonly trusted site, but is used to collect login credentials by tricking a user to input their details
  • Malware – A malicious script or program with a purpose to infect a site or system
    Local File Inclusion (LFI) – An attacker is able to control what file is executed at a scheduled time that was set up by the CMS or web app
  • Authentication Bypass – A security hole that enables a hacker to circumvent the login form and gain access to the site
  • Full Path Disclosure (FPD) – When the path to a site’s webroot is exposed such as when the directory listing, errors or warnings are visible
  • User Enumeration – Being able to determine a valid username to later use for brute force attacks by adding a string to the end of a WordPress site’s URL to request a user ID which may return an author’s profile with the valid username
  • XML External Entity (XXE) – An XML input that references an external entity and is processed poorly by improperly set up XML parser and can lead to confidential information disclosure

Read The Full Article “The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Security

That’s not even the entire list from the post, nor is the post every way that a site can be hacked. As time goes on, hackers get more sophisticated and develop new ways to get into sites to use them as they wish.

How To Keep Your Site Secure

Before you get into a full on panic, there are things you can do to help make sure your site doesn’t fall victim to hackers.

The first thing you can do is make sure you use strong usernames and passwords. Never, and we mean never, use the default “Admin”. Use very long passwords, maybe a snippet from your favorite song and add a few punctuation marks and numbers before and after.

The second thing and probably the most effective is……. KEEP YOUR SITE UPDATED! Whenever there is a new release of WordPress, make sure you install it right away. Whenever you receive an email that an update is available, get it done. But it doesn’t stop there, you also need to make sure that your Themes and Plugins are also kept up to date because they can be just as vulnerable. A classic example of this is the vulnerability in the Revolution Slider back in 2014 where as many as 100 thousand sites were hacked. You won’t receive email notifications for these types of updates, so we suggest checking at least weekly that everything is up to date.

Gail Gardner just posted an article today on another one of our top priorities of keeping your site secure with the importance of choosing a good server or hosting provider:

Choose a Secure Web Host

Web hosts vary greatly in how secure they are. Shared Web hosting is the most affordable option, since you’re sharing server space with countless other websites. But, that affordability comes at the cost of security in many cases.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is a middle-ground option where you’re still technically sharing a server with other websites, but you’re each given flexibility as if you were all running on a dedicated server. Dedicated hosting means that you’re the only website on the server, so it of course it comes at a premium.

To provide more security, but still keep costs relatively manageable, many web hosts are now offering managed WordPress hosting, which is similar to shared hosting. But by having them manage the WordPress installation itself, they can help avoid security breaches.

Read Gail’s full post “Web Security More Important Now Than Ever

Gail also makes some good points in her article about you company’s security policy with employees that have access to your site.

Lastly, we want to point out that you should be making backups regularly. Why? Because if your site does get hacked, restoring your site to it’s previous condition will be a whole lot easier.

Wrap Up

While you might consider your site not large enough, or have important data that hackers may want, it’s still a target. The most important and effective ways of keeping hackers out is to choose a good host, and keeping your site up date to help minimize the risks of your site falling prey. And in case it does fall victim, make sure you have backups!

To learn more about how we help keep our customers sites secure, as well as our web design services, visit our site MD Internet Marketing Solutions

Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked? was
first published on http://www.MDIMSolutions.com

via Blogger Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked?

Is Your Website At Risk Of Being Hacked? posted first on http://mdinternetmarketing.weebly.com

Take over Search Queries with Plural Comparative Intent

Difficult would not even suffice to describe how hard it is to outrank websites that create comparisons and lists on a specific topic. For most, competing with comparison sites for the top spot in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) may sound like an impossibility, but I am here to tell you that it’s not

Take over Search Queries with Plural Comparative Intent was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Conversion Rate Optimization

Customers are often jaded by broken promises from other marketers, and they are tired of endless ads that don’t deliver. You have to overcome this negativity by building trust through a series of incremental steps that lead to a macro-yes. One way this can be done is by making sure your webpage does not create friction and anxiety in your customers.

Conversion Rate Optimization was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing