Wichita Web Blog - Website Design & Marketing in Wichita, KS
Wichita Web Blog - Website Design & Marketing in Wichita, KS
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Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What are small businesses’ Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for their website?

The list is in!Website Design Hosting AdWords SEO Encryption

  1. Web Design
  2. Web Hosting
  3. Google AdWords
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  5. SSL Encryption

Those are the most common requests we’ve heard from customers since the first of the year. And it makes sense; all five impact either first impressions, security, or both.

Should your website have any of these New Year’s Resolutions? These questions may help you decide:

  1. Web Design (and usability)

    Does your website pass the Two-Second Rule? That is, when a customer lands on your home page, do they “back-arrow” to the last search page where your competitors await? Or, do they exhale, and stay a while? If your analytics tell you most traffic is bouncing, that’s just one indication of many that your site doesn’t compel prospects to linger longer.

  2. Web Hosting

    Do you know who’s hosting your website? We’re not being sarcastic here; many business customers aren’t sure, and we can understand why. You might have a web host vendor, a web domain vendor, an email vendor, … you get the idea. On top of that, many Wichita web hosting companies don’t actually manage the web hosting themselves, but farm it to an-out-of-town third party vendor.

  3. Google AdWords

    Are your competitors always at the top of page 1 in search? When customers are searching and you’re not noticed, then you’re nonexistent. So, while we’re huge advocates of long-term, organic SEO (we’ll cover that in a moment), we’re also a firm believer in the immediacy of pay-per-click advertising when it’s strategically viable. (That’s why we’re a Google-certified Partner.)

  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    Do customers say they “saw you on Google?” While pay-per-click ads have their place, the best search engine rankings in the long run are organic, i.e. natural, rankings. And this is where website SEO comes in. But Buyer Beware: everyone thinks they’re an SEO expert, from TV stations to yellow pages reps. Find out who’s really responsible for the strategy and planning. Get to know the person doing the work, because they should be doing the work getting to know your business.

  5. SSL Encryption
    Do you know if your website’s truly secure?
    If you haven’t added SSL encryption (the padlock and HTTP”S”), the answer is no. Soon, SSL will be the industry norm, and Google already prefers sites with SSL in search rankings. In fact, Google will label certain websites as non-secure beginning as early as, well, this month. Fortunately, securing an SSL certificate for website encryption is affordable – most start at around $70 a year - and can be provided by any legitimate web hosting company in Wichita.

So there you have it, the Top 5 Website Resolutions for 2017. Did you – and your website – ring in the New Year with any of these in hand?

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2016

“S-S-L website encryption? Please, spell it out for me!”

Those three letters are getting more popular by the minute, and for good reason.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption is technology that creates a secure connection where it’s needed most – between your website visitor’s browser and your website’s server. This stretch of road is where the bad guys hijack data while it’s traveling, from credit card numbers and social security numbers to usernames and passwords. Simply put, any data that’s in a web transmission is vulnerable if it’s not encrypted with SSL.

As you might expect, e-commerce websites were the early adopters of SSL. Now, Google has essentially made SSL inevitable for all websites, announcing that all non-SSL sites transmitting credit cards or passwords will display “Not secure” in a visitor’s Chrome 57 browser location bar:

 

Unsecure Website without SSL Encryption

Yes, in red. Not good.

Website security, and then some

As if keeping your site, and your customer’s data, secure wasn’t important enough, there is another inherent benefit to SSL – brand trust. Seeing the padlock icon lets your site visitors know you care about their information and security. It elevates your brand, while always reminding customers and prospects alike that, not only did they land at the right website, but their data cannot be modified or intercepted.

 

SSL Certificates for Website Encryption

 

How do I get SSL for my website, and what does it cost?

Check with who’s hosting your website. They should be well versed on the topic of website SSL certificates. The key is that you trust your web host, just like you trust the company that installed and monitors your home security system. (Remember when your neighbor got broken into, before they had a security system put in? Enough said.) SSL certificates are likely to start around $70 a year - the best website security investment you’ll ever make - so don’t let Budget get in the way.

If your site website doesn’t have the “s” in “https,” secure your website, and soon, with an SSL certificate. It’s the smartest 19 cents a day you’ll ever spend.

cams don't sleep. Here's how to put this one to rest.
Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016

Scams can happen to anyone, including us. Here is an example of a criminal that is using our company information for malicious motives: Our identity is being used as part of a phishing scam. We don’t know who is behind this scam, nor did we give them permission to use our information. Here’s what we do know – this is an international group sending realistic fraudulent checks for thousands of dollars to businesses, and signing them “from” Pen Publishing Interactive, Inc. If you think you may have received fraudulent documents from us, read on.

From the innocent party’s point of view, you receive an envelope in the mail with a professional looking check addressed to your business for a suspiciously high amount of money. The envelope also includes a letter instructing you to deposit the check, and to notify Larry.Horna@dr.com once you’ve done so.

Do not deposit this check, do not transfer any money, and report this act of fraud to the appropriate authorities.


Here are some tips on determining if a check is legitimate or not –

  1. Call the company to confirm that they truly exist. Ask for the person who (allegedly) sent the correspondence.
  2. Ask yourself: Are you expecting money from an international bank? If not, it’s probably a scam.
  3. If you’re not expecting a check for a considerably large or unusual amount, be skeptical.

And the Golden Rule: Always, always check with the sender if you’re not expecting any sort of message (email) or content (money) from them. Phishing (attempting to acquire information for malicious purposes) comes in many forms, impacts thousands of businesses daily, and will not go away anytime soon. As web professionals we see it every day. Don’t let the bad guys win; skepticism can sometimes keep you safe.

Fraud Check
an you spot the hacker in your coffee shop?
Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Of course you can’t. But he sees you filling out your 1040.

We get the appeal of getting work done in your local coffee shop. It’s a change of scenery, pace, and it smells so productive. But before you pack up your W-2’s to get cranking on your tax returns -

Stay home.

Sure, online tax systems like Turbo Tax and H&R Block make taxes easy, convenient, and safe to file (yay). But, make one wrong move and you could become exposed to notable internet security risks.

When your device connects to a public, shared, or unprotected Wi-Fi source (like the network you’ll find at a coffee shop, restaurant, or library) you and your information become vulnerable to a variety of security breaches. You become exposed to hackers, hijackers, packet sniffers, and not to mention the fellow you’re sitting next to that keeps peeping at your screen.

No matter where you’re connected, take our advice and follow these 4 Steps to Lower Your Risk of Someone Seeing, Stalking or Stealing your Information.

  1. Make sure you’re using an encrypted session. You can tell if you’re in an encrypted session if you see a little lock symbol () at the top of your browser. This is something most, if not all, online tax filing systems will have on their site (if not, choose a new source).
  2. Turn on your computer’s firewall – and trust no one! But really, turn your device settings to Trust Nothing.
  3. Turn file-sharing settings off. It’s best to turn file sharing off ANYTIME you’re in public, but especially during your tax season. When file-sharing is on, it enables people around you to surf your device’s files, leaving your information exposed - not cool. 
  4. Be alert. Our mantra over the years has been this – the best firewall is you. So, do your due diligence and click responsibly.

Here at Pen Publishing, we focus a lot of our energy on keeping ourselves and our clients safe from scams, hackers and hijackers. So this tax season, we suggest playing it safe. Take your iced mocha caramel Frappuccino - to Go.
easuring Social Media for Business? Hold the Metrics, Please!
Posted on Monday, April 6, 2015

So much has been written about Social Media’s role in small business marketing that most small business owners feel their eyes roll into the back of their head when they hear those words. Want to see them go ahead and keel over right where they stand? Ask them how they measure Social Media’s impact on their business. Yikes!

So instead of drowning in data, let’s take a lighthearted approach to measuring social media. Plus, it’ll be a lot more fun than a blog chock full of terms like “return on investment” and “cost per acquisition.” (we can tackle those another day)

Let’s use a simple analogy: You’re working in the back yard on a Saturday afternoon, and your neighbor, having seen a new sub shop open up just down the road, leans over the fence and asks if you know anything about it. You don’t, but a few of your coworkers ate there last week, so you share what they had to say. You also share that you’ve noticed the owner slapped a new coat of paint on the building, and that they change lunch specials every day on a fancy new sign out by the street.

Your neighbor now knows more about the new sub shop than they did before. And, it came from what your neighbor believes to be a credible, reliable source: referral. And by the way, it was free (and you got a break from spring gutter cleaning).

That’s what’s happening with Social Media – which is really a huge, powerful, and free (virtually) referral engine. Social Media lets customers and prospects vet a company, product, or service. Look under the hood. Kick the tires. Get a sneak peek, before they commit to trial – whether it’s a Reuben sandwich, a high-speed sander, or a shiny new SUV.

Consumers are savvy. They shop. They compare. They ask questions. And they listen to their gut. So when they come across a place where they know others are going to honestly share what they think about, for instance, the new sub shop just down the road, they’re going listen to those people share sincerely and honestly – and without holding anything back.Because isn’t that just what we all want as consumers: the scoop on what’s new?

So, if you’re a small business (consumer or commercial; it doesn’t matter) and want to stick your toe in the Social Media waters, or already have but aren’t certain how deep the water is, don’t overthink Social. Want to chat about how we’re helping other small businesses with Social? We’d love to (as long as we don’t have to clean out any gutters). Meanwhile, we’re headed down the road to the new sub shop. Today’s sign features a Reuben Special.

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What are small businesses’ Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for their website?The list is in! Web DesignWeb HostingGoogle AdWordsSearch Engine Optimization (SEO)SSL EncryptionThose are the most common requests we’ve heard from customers since the first of the year. And it makes sense; all five impact either first impressions, security, or both. Should your website have any of these New Year’s Resolutions? These questions may help you decide:Web Design (and usability)Does your website pass the Two-Se
“S-S-L website encryption? Please, spell it out for me!” Those three letters are getting more popular by the minute, and for good reason. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption is technology that creates a secure connection where it’s needed most – between your website visitor’s browser and your website’s server. This stretch of road is where the bad guys hijack data while it’s traveling, from credit card numbers and social security numbers to usernames and passwords. Simply put, any data that’s
Scams can happen to anyone, including us. Here is an example of a criminal that is using our company information for malicious motives: Our identity is being used as part of a phishing scam. We don’t know who is behind this scam, nor did we give them permission to use our information.
Of course you can’t. But he sees you filling out your 1040. We get the appeal of getting work done in your local coffee shop. It’s a change of scenery, pace, and it smells so productive. But before you pack up your W-2’s to get cranking on your tax returns -
So much has been written about Social Media’s role in small business marketing that most small business owners feel their eyes roll into the back of their head when they hear those words. Want to see them go ahead and keel over right where they stand? Ask them how they measure Social Media’s impact on their business. Yikes! So instead of drowning in data, let’s take a lighthearted approach to measuring social media. Plus, it’ll be a lot more fun than a blog chock full of terms like “return on in