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7 Simple Online Security Tips

Posted Thu, June 18, 2015 by Julie Short

Online security is a bigger topic than ever these days. Individuals and businesses alike are learning that they better go out of their way to protect things like passwords and financial records if they don’t want to fall prey to hackers. And at the same time, the consequences of theft and data breaches are more severe than ever.

What gets lost in all the concern about online security, however, is that the best pieces of advice tend to be the simplest. Most cyber crimes don’t happen because cyber criminals are using sophisticated technology or expertise, but instead because we tend to leave the front doors to our websites and financial accounts wide-open.

To help keep you better protected, here are seven simple online security tips you can start using immediately:

#1: Use Strong Passwords

One survey suggested that more than 10% % of Americans use “1234” as their ATM pin numbers, and that a similar number use passwords like “password.” Changing yours to a complicated mix of upper and lower case letters, with some numbers and special characters thrown in, makes it almost impossible for automated hacking tools to gain access to your accounts.

#2: Change Your Passwords Regularly

While we’re on the subject of passwords, be sure you change yours every 3 to 6 months. And, if you have to ask, it’s a good idea to have different passwords for all the major websites and services you use.

#3: Be Stingy With Sensitive Data

A password is only a password if some people don’t know it. It’s amazing how many offices we’ve seen where everyone has permission to log into the company server, or charge items to the owner’s credit card. Think carefully about who needs access to which pieces of information in your business, and then seal off any loose ends.

#4: Back Up Everything, and Back it Up Often

Whether you lose data because of a problem with technology or a lack of security, having extensive, validated, and up-to-date backups is extraordinarily important. Make sure you aren’t just keeping a copy of critical files, but that they are somewhere safe and password-protected.

#5: Take Advantage of Security Patches

When it comes to things like web hosting packages and financial software, it’s critical that you install patches and updates as they come out. Often, these contain the fixes to security breaches that have been discovered, to someone else’s misfortune. Software providers are constantly closing the door on hackers, so take the protection offered by ongoing updates.

#6: Keep the Right Company

This is good advice for life, of course, but especially applies to your online relationships. Don’t visit websites that you can’t trust (especially online casinos and other adult-themed destinations), and certainly don’t respond to messages, click on links, or download attachments from others you don’t know. This applies for social media, as well – just because someone looks friendly doesn’t mean they just want to be your friend.

#7: Keep a Close Eye on Websites and Accounts

Once a week or so, take a quick look through your business website and financial accounts. Often, the easiest way to tell you’ve been a victim of cyber crime is with a simple eye test. Discovering that something is wrong might not be pleasant, but it can keep the issue from getting worse (as it would if it were undiscovered).

None of these tips is sophisticated, but they all work. Start using them today, and you’ll greatly decrease the risks associated with hacking, identity theft, and other Internet crimes.

Is your web design and Internet marketing firm looking out for you the way they should be? If not, now is the perfect time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

Posted in : Websites , Online Profile Management , FYI | 
Tags : online security , security


Why Video is so Valuable in Online Marketing

Posted Thu, June 11, 2015 by Julie Short

One by one, marketers are starting to recognize just what kind of difference adding online video to their websites can make. In particular, landing pages, product pages, and even blogs can all be enhanced with good video clips that move viewers to action.

You’ve probably gotten the advice to add online video to your Internet marketing mix already. So what is it that makes video so powerful?

We’re glad you asked, because we want to share with you a few of video’s biggest benefits:

Video Creates a Stronger Connection to the Viewer

Sales and marketing are all about making an emotional connection, and that’s much easier with video than it is images or plain text on a website. Researchers have also pointed out that video tends to be more memorable to viewers. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that adding video to landing pages can boost response rates by as much as 100%.

Video Gives You More Time

The average website visitor will scan a page of text if they are interested in the topic, but will actually watch the video on the same subject. That’s because the added dimension of motion, detail, and even human facial cues causes us to subconsciously dial in. The net result is that you can get more of your customers time by showing them video than you would with a written marketing message.

Video Creates a Powerful Sense of Proof

Seeing is believing, and it’s a lot easier to make buyers “see” with video than it is with words or still photos. That’s especially true when you’re showing the faces of happy customers, or the details of a product and how it works. If you want to show off the finer points of your marketing message, and really demonstrate value, then online video is a great choice.

Online Video Is More Cost-Effective Than Ever

Even a decade ago, shooting a high-quality video might mean booking time with a studio, arranging props, and spending a small fortune on audio and editing. These days, virtually any business can afford to produce video clips that look expensive but aren’t. The lowered cost of producing online videos means the returns for using them have gotten much greater at the same time.

It’s no secret that customers tend to be more engaged with video than they do plain text or images. Until recently however, producing videos – even online – was too expensive for a lot of companies to consider. With prices coming down and production standards climbing, there’s no reason to miss out on the returns you could get from adding clips to your website. So what are you waiting for?

Attracting customers over the Internet starts with having the right online marketing team on your side. Contact WebRevelation in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio today to schedule a free consultation and see exactly how we can help your business grow.

Posted in : Blogging , SEO/SMO/SMM , Website Content | 
Tags : video , video marketing , online video


4 Ways to Integrate Social Media Within Your Business Website

Posted Thu, June 4, 2015 by Julie Short

A lot of businesses treat social media as if it were entirely separate from their websites. The reality, though, is that both your website and your social profiles work better when they are connected and customers can move back and forth easily between them.

Luckily, integrating your social presence into your website doesn’t have to be difficult. To help you get started, here are four easy ways you can tie your social profiles to your other web content:

#1: By Posting Links to Your Profiles

There are numerous places on your website where you can include links to your social profiles. For instance, the homepage is a good place to link to your company profiles, About pages can link to individual team members, and job openings can go alongside URLs that lead to LinkedIn.

#2: Through Real-Time Tweet and Comment Sharing

If you want people to connect with your business socially, show them that other customers are doing the same thing. With real-time tweets, posts, and other updates, visitors to your website can see that you are active on social media (and that other people are active with you in turn).

#3: With Social Sharing Buttons on Your Blog

Your blog is a great place for social links. With just a few buttons, you can make it a snap for readers to share their favorite articles, add comments to your post, or even suggest future topics. Each of these gives you valuable feedback, but even more importantly, they allow readers to share your posts and ideas with their contacts who might not be subscribers yet.

#4: By Combining Social Sharing With Email Newsletters

In the same way, great email newsletter articles can be shared through social networking by you or your customers. And there’s no faster way to grow your social network than by including email subscribers who already know and like your business and its people. Best of all, it will probably cost you no more than a couple minutes of time to include the links you want in your email messages.

Your website will probably always be your hub for Internet marketing activity, but don’t discount the power of your social profiles. By encouraging prospects and existing customers to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, you make it easier for them to interact with your company and become bigger fans of your business and brand.

Need an online marketing team that can help you put different strategies and campaigns together in a way that makes sense? Contact WebRevelation today and schedule a free consultation.

Posted in : Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media , websites


3 Lessons You Can Take From Blue Bell’s Troubles

Posted Thu, May 28, 2015 by Julie Short

A Dallas company made national headlines for all the wrong reasons this spring when Blue Bell – which produces tens of millions of gallons of ice cream sold in grocery stores around the country – was found to be responsible for a Listeria outbreak.

The company has since taken the kinds of steps you would expect, furloughing plants, laying off employees, and working with state and federal health inspectors to show there won’t be any future issues.

Although many expected Blue Bell to disappear altogether, it seems as if the company is on the road to recovery, both financially and in terms of rebuilding their reputation. Clawing their way back into business has been no easy task, of course, and there were lessons business owners and executives can take from these events to help them avoid trouble in their own organizations.

Here are three in particular you should pay attention to:

#1: Trouble Always Comes From Unexpected Places

Before news of the Listeria outbreak hit, you can bet Blue Bell’s management team was focused on things like pricing, competitors, and market share… just as most of us are every day. But even though dealing with these challenges is important, it’s critical that we never take our eye off the bigger picture. Things like safety, customer satisfaction, and even employee management deserve our attention even when they don’t seem pressing.

#2: Cash Reserves Mean Everything in Times of Trouble

Once it became clear that Blue Bell couldn’t keep producing or selling ice cream, executives had to make some quick and difficult decisions about how they would survive without any new revenue coming in. Most small and medium-sized companies will face that kind of challenge eventually. When these troubles hit, having cash reserves you can turn to and stay afloat for a few months or quarters at a time can make all the difference.

#3: The Right Messaging Can Make or Break You in a Crisis

One thing Blue Bell definitely did right was to follow their instincts and communicate with customers, health inspectors, and the public at large. By immediately ceasing deliveries and letting buyers know that they were serious about protecting everyone’s health (and not in ducking responsibility) they paved the way for those customers to come back when the time is right. The simple decision to follow the correct path with their messaging might be the one that ultimately ends up restoring the company back to profitability.

There’s never a good time to have things go wrong with your company, but looking for issues ahead of time, preparing for rough patches, and having the right marketing and messaging can mean the difference between enduring a tough time and going out of business altogether. Are you ready to deal with the unexpected?

If you don’t have the kind of marketing and design team that can help you build and re-build your brand when you need it most, maybe it’s time to schedule a free consultation with the WebRevelation team.

Posted in : FYI , Business Strategy | 
Tags : Dallas , bluebell , lessons


4 Ways to Go Mobile-Friendly

Posted Thu, May 21, 2015 by Julie Short

In a recent post, we looked at what it is that actually makes your website “mobile-friendly.” Having that understanding is important, especially since mobile users now make up a majority on the Internet, outnumbering “traditional” laptop and desktop computer users online.

Today, we want to go a bit further and look at the different options you have for adding mobile functionality to your business website…

By Building a Mobile Version of Your Website

Mobile-specific websites are just what they sound like: versions of your web presence that are built, designed, and encoded specifically for mobile devices. These work and display best on small screens, of course, since they are optimized for that purpose. However, they bring the additional expense of creating an entirely new website, not to mention keeping it up-to-date, along with your existing web presence.

With an Adaptive Web Design

With an adaptive web design, you have one website that actually has several different versions. When a visitor comes to your pages, the coding within the side “decides” which version to show based on the available browser and screen size. While this does give you mobile functionality, it can lead to small errors when a mobile web browser and your website platform communicate incorrectly, causing the wrong layout to be displayed.

Through Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design works in a similar way, except that the adaptations are more fluid because of back-end coding. In other words, your website “responds” to the visitor’s device and browser, but can also change appearance if they resize their screen or change options. Because responsive web designs are more flexible, they tend to make fewer mistakes, and are also more likely to be compatible with future mobile devices, and screen sizes, that may not be popular yet.

By Developing a Custom App

As an alternative to mobile compatibility in your website, or an additional option, you could have a custom app developed that either serves as a replica of your website or adds more features. For example, your custom app might let mobile users log into their accounts, place new orders, or get specific updates (like package tracking) in one secure and convenient place. The downside to developing an app is that you’ll generally need lots of people to use it before you can justify the cost.

So, with all these options out there, which one makes the most sense for your company?

To explore the choices a bit further, and to decide which one might be right for you, contact a member of the WebRevelation team today and ask for a free website evaluation.

Posted in : Websites , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites , Business Strategy | 
Tags : ways to go mobile friendly


What Does “Mobile-Friendly” Really Mean?

Posted Thu, May 14, 2015 by Julie Short

When Google announced that it would start factoring mobile compatibility into its search engine rankings beginning on April 21, business owners and web designers were sent into a flurry. Suddenly, thousands and thousands of new companies decided it was the perfect time to adopt a “mobile-friendly” web platform.

Lost in this sudden surge of mobile programming, however, was the fact that a lot of marketers don’t fully understand what “mobile-friendly” really means. To help shed some light on the situation, here is what you need to know about that term, and the underlying functionality it adds to your website:

The Basics of Mobile Compatibility

The essence of a mobile-friendly website is that it can display cleanly on a small screen, and adapt to a mobile browser that may have limitations a traditional web browser wouldn’t. The most obvious of these has to do with page and image widths, which need to be restricted on mobile devices. Without that, mobile users will be forced to scroll from left to right while trying to read text, for example, or view an image.

In addition, mobile browsers work better with standard fonts than they do exotic ones, so that should be a consideration. It’s also a good idea to limit image sizes and animations, since these can load slowly or use up too much space on a user’s data plan.

Generally Speaking, Mobile = Simple

What these basics amount to is often a simpler version of your standard website, or at least a version that displays more cleanly and simply for mobile users. As an example, if your website has a dozen links across the top of your main navigation bar, these may need to be moved, abbreviated, or otherwise altered to make them usable on a smart phone. Additionally, content can be rearranged so that it’s easier to scroll from top to bottom instead of left to right.

Buttons and Action Items Need Tweaking, Too

The third factor in mobile compatibility is the availability of radio buttons, click-to-call response forms, and other simple calls to action. Few mobile visitors will want to type long strings of text to get more information from your business, or fill out complicated forms on tiny screens.

Part of mobile functionality is ensuring that it’s is easy for customers to do what you want them to do – especially if that’s to make a purchase or get in touch with you for more information – than it is for them to see and read your content.

Although Google’s new mobile-friendly stance may seem like it’s driving the trend towards smart phone and tablet compatibility forward, the reality is that mobile web users already make up more than half of all Internet traffic. So, adopting a mobile-friendly attitude is a good idea, regardless of whether you rely on search engines or not.

In the next post, we are going to outline a few of the different ways you can bring mobile compatibility to your business website. If you can’t wait that long, or have more specific questions, feel free to contact WebRevelation today and ask for a free consultation.

Posted in : Websites , Website Content , SEO/SMO/SMM , Mobile Websites | 
Tags : mobile friendly


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