A noticeable increase in website attacks has been happening lately, some attempts are even exploiting the global pandemic in malware phishing attacks and spam. Many of these attacks are using fear tactics given the rise of companies shifting to working remotely which may open the companies up to inadequate security protocols protecting company data or information.
Although at Enspire Creative we apply best practices for our clients with our security and hosting plans, the number of cyber-attacks continues to increase as well as the many ways vulnerabilities are exposed lately.
We highly recommend that businesses be aware of the risks associated with website attacks and the need for websites to have proper security and to keep their site and plugins updated. This is especially important for e-commerce sites who may conduct transactions or store sensitive customer information through their website.
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a cyber attack on their website where valuable information has been compromised or losing endless hours trying to repair a site that has been injected with malware.
We highly recommend implementing these best practices for your website:
- Backup your website regularly*
- Update your WordPress website, theme, and plugins*
- Ensure your website is hosted securely (uses HTTPS protocol)**
- Install a security plugin (we recommend Ithemes Security or Wordfence)*
- Change the login URL*
- Enable 2-factor authentication for login
- Use strong passwords (not used elsewhere)
- Remove unused plugins
- Tighten admin user settings
We dive a little deeper into each of these recommendations shared above…
1. Backup your website regularly*
A backup is essentially a copy of your website that is stored elsewhere that can be used in the case of an attack which can be useful in restoring your website.
Having reliable backups run automatically on a regular schedule such as once a day or week will be helpful as it is one less thing to think about and provides peace of mind in the case of the site being hacked.
Most website hosting providers offer this as an option and may allow you to set your own backup schedule.
It’s helpful to check the backups every so often and to have multiple backup versions available in the case to recover website files from a point prior to an attack.
2. Update your WordPress website, theme, and plugins*
Every day websites are compromised due to outdated software or plugins, so it is important to keep your website updated regularly as well as any plugins or themes.
This is especially common for WordPress websites as they release core updates and use plugins and themes that need to be manually updated within the backend of the website.
This keeps the automated bots away as they are constantly scanning to find vulnerabilities or holes to exploit and cause damage.
3. Ensure your website has an SSL certificate**
An SSL certificate shows visitors to your website that it is using a secure encrypted connection between the server and the browser.
An SSL certificate will not protect the website from an attack or hack, but it does signal to the visitor of your website that your website is legit and secure for transactions and submitting information through the site.
4. Install a security plugin*
We recommend installing a security plugin that can help in keeping out bad login attempts from spammers, securing data from a database, or adding a firewall.
5. Change the login URL*
The default login page for all WordPress sites is /wp-admin, which is a known fact for many spammers and hackers. Changing the link of the login page to a custom URL makes it harder for attackers to find and try to enter your website.
6. Enable 2-factor authentication for login
Enabling 2-factor authentication for logging into your website adds a layer of security other than just a password.
Passwords can be hacked, especially if they are not strong, but if 2-factor authentication is enabled it means the hacker would need a code sent to your phone or email in order to continue in the login process.
7. Use strong passwords
Keep your passwords strong and don’t reuse them. We recommend using a password manager that helps generate strong random passwords and stores them securely.
Use long random passwords that don’t contain any real words, even replacing the letter O with 0 is not enough.
8. Remove unused plugins
By keeping unused or deactivated plugins on your website, it can create clutter and may even slow down your site. They can also be a threat to your website leaving your site open to vulnerabilities as the plugin may not be updated as time passes.
If you won’t be needing the plugin anymore, we recommend uninstalling or deleting it. Sometimes those plugins may leave unwanted data behind, so you may need to check for this depending on the plugin that was installed.
9. Tighten admin user settings
If you have multiple users who need access to your website to manage or update it, we recommend only giving them access to the settings they really need and then removing the user once they no longer need access to the website.
This minimizes the risk and potential hacks to user accounts in trying to gain access and flooding your site with spammy content.
Keeping an audit log will also help in identifying who has made changes to the website and what has been done will also help in identifying if there were any hacked user accounts.
Serving Our Clients in Keeping their Websites Secure
Keeping websites safe and secure is a high priority at Enspire Creative, wanting to save our clients precious time and energy in mitigating risk.
We have support plans available that provide many of the best practices we mentioned above from running backups to updating plugins regularly. Save yourself time and headaches by discussing the best options for your website with our team.
*We do this with the following services: Support Package, Security Package, & Fully Equipped Package
** We do this with the following services: All Hosting Levels
Pay Per Click advertising, also known as PPC is a valuable tool as part of your marketing strategy. PPC advertising provides you with exposure to your target audience and a good PPC campaign can provide a great ROI on your marketing investment.
One advantage of PPC is that you only get charged when someone actually clicks on your advert or link. PPC advertising can be done on a variety of networks, the most common would be with Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engines.
Some would also argue that paid social media would fall under PPC, however, at Enspire we focus on Google Ads as they can provide the best return for your PPC marketing spend (we also offer paid social advertising separately).
What is Pay Per Click Advertising?
There are different types of PPC ads, but the most common is the paid search ad. These are ads that appear when people are searching for specific things online using search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. For example, this could be someone searching for a hairdresser in the local area, looking for a specific product, or even a restaurant. With PPC ads your advert will be shown in the search results at the top of the page if it matches the keywords or keyphrases entered in search networks.
With PPC advertising, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your advert, hence the name “pay-per-click”, making PPC advertising a very profitable option for many businesses. The most common place that PPC ads are used is with the Google search engine as it has around 70% of the total search engine market. This is why most PPC management agencies will put a focus on Google Ads.
Why PPC & Google Ads Services?
PPC advertising can make sense for a wide range of businesses. There are huge opportunities to directly reach customers looking for your products or services online. Unlike traditional marketing PPC advertising offers a lot of data and insights, making performance easy to track and budgets easier to manage.
An agency that manages your ad spend will know the best strategies to maximize your marketing spend. They will also know how to optimize your adverts, choose the correct keywords, and set up the right targeting. If you’re new to PPC ads we highly recommend looking into PPC management services.
Next, we look at 7 reasons why you need PPC advertising below.
7 reasons to use PPC advertising
There are a large number of benefits to using PPC advertising, below we list the 7 most important reasons why you should consider using PPC advertising for your business.
1. Get first-page exposure in search engines
With Google paid ads you will be on the first page of the search results without having to rank with SEO. This means you will have maximum exposure for specific keywords that you want to be known for. This can also help increase your brand recognition, which is an important factor when people are purchasing from you online.
2. Immediate traffic
You can get traffic to your website immediately. Unlike SEO which requires a longer-term strategy and good content marketing, with PPC ads you can immediately be found for keywords that you want to rank for.
This means you can still compete with your competitors for relevant search terms. It’s perfect for websites that have little or no traffic, and great if you are launching a new service or product.
3. Hyper-targeted traffic
PPC gives you the opportunity to target specific keywords, giving you highly qualified leads, as those users are already searching for what you may be offering. More targeted traffic means better quality prospects which should equate to a higher number of conversions.
4. You can track results
One great thing about digital marketing and advertising is the use of analytics. Unlike traditional marketing, you can easily see metrics related to your ad performance. This will allow you to adjust ads, remove those that aren’t performing well, in turn providing you with a better ROI than traditional marketing channels.
5. A/B testing
With PPC advertising you can A/B test ads to find out what variations works better. You can easily adjust existing ads, and you can change keywords with ease. This level of control allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your adverts, another huge advantage over traditional advertising.
6. Increase your reach
Google Ads can be shown in multiple networks, popular websites, and of course in search results. This can provide a huge amount of exposure for your ads. You can also select where you are showing ads, allowing you to reach different cities, states, and countries.
This means you could target people only locally if you have a physical store that people need to visit, or internationally if you have products or services that can be consumed anywhere in the world. As the internet becomes more readily available worldwide your target market will continue to grow.
7. Managing budgets
With PPC ads you can set up a monthly budget which means you can keep your advertising spend under control. These can even be set at a campaign level, so you can easily split your advertising spend between different ad campaigns. Even better, you only get charged when someone clicks on your ad.
There you have it, 7 great reasons why PPC advertising is a great marketing tool to add to your marketing efforts.
If you have no experience working with PPC ads we highly recommend investing in a PPC agency or PPC specialist to get the most value for your money. So what kind of services do PPC agencies or normally provide? Find out more in the next section.
What services does a PPC Agency normally offer?
PPC agencies can offer an array of services. A good PPC agency should offer at least the following types of services:
PPC Keyword Research
PPC keyword research can be time-consuming, but it is very important for the success of your PPC strategy. Your entire PPC campaign is built around your strategy. A good PPC agency will engage in PPC keyword research on your behalf to find the best possible keywords for your target audience and business needs.
An agency should review the different channels that are right for your business, selecting the channels that will provide the greatest ROI. Most companies will use Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and paid social media.
At Enspire we focus on Google Adwords (and paid social with our social media management services, using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin) as they offer the largest network and the highest potential returns.
Bids for keywords should be managed and reviewed, adjusting bids where needed in order to maximize your marketing ROI. Bids should be constantly monitored and adjusted, rather than just setting and leaving a bid, a good PPC Agency will make sure to monitor them regularly so you aren’t losing money over time.
As part of the overall strategy, a competitor analysis should be completed to understand what your competitors are targeting. Keeping an eye on tactics and strategies utilized by competitors is important. For example, you can decide whether to compete directly by bidding on the same keywords, or instead targeting keywords a competitor is overlooking.
Ad Setup and Targeting
With the right keyword strategy in place, a PPC agency will set up your ads, and then they will use advanced targeting to reach a more specific audience. They can use audience segmentation, persona data, social listening, key phrase insights and more. This will allow for a greater return on your investment.
Continuous review, creative development and testing of ads should be completed. This will allow for better campaigns. The data can then be used to understand what works for your target audience, allowing for better targeting in the future.
With any good service provider, reporting on results is super important. Make sure that you’re getting detailed reports with key performance indicators outlined. At Enspire we provide monthly reports and a check-in call to give an overview of what work was done and the results achieved.
Who should hire PPC Management?
While PPC management services may seem expensive, a well ran PPC advertising campaign will pay for itself in the long run. The following points would be well qualified for hiring a PPC Management company:
- Anyone new to online advertising.
- Companies lacking an in-house advertising team.
- Firms without sufficient manpower to effectively oversee PPC.
- Firms unable to afford database and software systems needed for optimal PPC management.
- Firms looking to optimize and get the most out of their paid advertising spend.
If you’re new to PPC advertising, or want professional services and managed paid advertising, then investing in a PPC agency is a great choice for your business. Not only can PPC improve your sales, but it can also uncover more details about your specific customers and allow you to improve your overall market reach.
Enspire offers an array of marketing services with PPC advertising being one of our key focuses. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your company improve your marketing, contact us for a free consultation.
SEO should be a fundamental part of your overall marketing strategy. In the following article, we explore what SEO is and why SEO services could be the perfect fit for your business to help it grow.
What is SEO?
You may have heard about SEO which stands for “Search Engine Optimization” before, but what is it? SEO allows you to generate traffic for your website for free, also known as organic search results on search engines.
SEO aims to structure your content in a certain way that allows it to perform better in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The higher your content ranks organically the better it will perform and more traffic will generate for your website.
Does your business need SEO Services?
SEO is a great strategy for any business, small, medium or large. It allows you to optimize the content you create in a cost-efficient way. There is a huge opportunity for business growth by including it in your marketing strategy, it’s also likely your competitors are investing in SEO too. Relying on only one source of traffic for your website/marketing can be detrimental to your business success, diversifying your reach is a solid and proven strategy to keep your business competitive as the marketing landscape changes.
7 reasons your SEO Services will help your business
The internet continues to grow
The internet continues to grow, which means your consumer base can be growing too. In January 2019 more than 4.39 billion people were online, an increase of 366 million from the previous year.
With organic search being one of the largest channels for business website traffic, you’d be leaving your business at a disadvantage if you aren’t investing in a solid SEO strategy.
Your competition is using SEO
It is likely that your competitors are already using SEO to help grow their businesses by generating organic traffic to their sites. Stay ahead of the competition with SEO and start ranking for key terms that will generate relevant website traffic for your business. It also means you are preventing customers from going directly to your competitors.
Investing in high-quality SEO services will also allow you to perform better than your competitors if they are executing their SEO poorly. Take advantage of the opportunity that SEO provides and start building an SEO strategy today.
SEO delivers a high ROI
SEO can bring some of the best ROI of any marketing channel as it’s long term, meaning that it outperforms paid search in the long run. Why? Once your content is starting to rank well, it will continue to drive traffic to your business, unlike paid advertising which stops once you stop spending. This means that in the long run, you get better lasting results for your money.
As your SEO strengthens the effects can increase your website traffic and ultimately your leads. Just note that SEO is a longer-term strategy and it will take 6-12 months before you really get traction. If you’re investing in an SEO strategy we recommend taking at least 6 months to start seeing the results.
It boosts your creditability as a business
Using a solid content marketing strategy, a fundamental part of a good SEO strategy, you can begin to build trust in your marketplace by offering quality, informative and valuable content for your potential customers.
The more valuable content that you have the more trust you can gain. The added benefit of this is that as your content begins to rank well and it can generate more traffic to your site. SEO gives you another means to reach your customers and build touchpoints with them before they purchase.
For sales, the average number of touchpoints is between 6 and 8 times, which means potential customers generally will interact with your business up to 8 times before they make their decision if they want to buy. Creating quality content will allow you to strengthen those touchpoints with your potential customers.
It improves user experience
Google’s ultimate goal is to provide the best possible results and experience for its users.
As a result, many of their recent algorithm updates focus on making sure that they are sending users to sites that not only provide relevant content but also great user experience.
When considering SEO whilst creating content, the user should be at the front of your mind, again this creates better content and sends signals to Google that you’re serious about adding value.
That’s why SEO is a fundamental tool to use as it takes into consideration technical factors like mobile-friendliness, usability, and site speed, which plays a big role in search engine results page rankings than ever before.
While this means that optimizing your site might require a bit more professional help, it also means that you’ll be continuously improving the user experience your site provides.
With better user experience you can expect better conversions, this can have a significant impact on your sales and revenue in the long run.
SEO results can be measured
Measuring results is a huge win when it comes to any business activity, and SEO is no different. You can track every aspect of your SEO results, and most of the tools like Google Analytics and Google search console come free. Track everything from your website traffic, where your traffic comes from (referral sources), conversions (based on goals you set) and any other important metrics for your business.
Using this data allows you to fine-tune your marketing and SEO efforts to further improve your website and your ranking with search engines. With any good SEO management company, they should be able to provide you with detailed reports of your SEO growth and how that performance is affecting your business.
You can reach a local audience
Do you have a brick and mortar business, or are you fighting for clients in a specific area? Using SEO can help bring visibility to your business. Using local SEO you can improve your business’s credibility and find customers that are looking for your services in your local area.
So there you have it 7 solid reasons why SEO is super important for your marketing strategy and long term business success. But why do you need an SEO management company and what services can they offer you?
Why an SEO management company?
Whilst SEO fundamentals are relatively simple, SEO itself is an ever-changing landscape that requires time, effort and technical knowledge to track and implement.
A good SEO management company can offer you proven strategies that work to help improve your SEO and to help you get the most from your marketing dollars. This should include a solid SEO strategy tailor-made for your business needs and goals. Ultimately this should improve your site traffic in both quality and quantity leading to business growth.
SEO management companies are also able to effectively track and report on your SEO growth, and can easily adjust our SEO strategy to provide better results. This way you’re able to see how your performance improves over time and the return on investment that you’re getting.
If you are serious about improving your website SEO to improve your overall marketing strategy, then investing in an SEO management company is the perfect fit for you.
What services can an SEO management company offer?
SEO management companies can offer a variety of services from SEO audits to monthly SEO services. Generally, they will help with improving your search engine rankings, help with site optimization, offer strategy development and assist with content creation as well as providing detailed reports on your SEO spend.
Enspire offers the following services as part of different packages to help your SEO grow.
One-time SEO audits are a great solution for anyone with an existing website that wants to learn more about your current website performance and how you can improve your website’s SEO.
The One-time SEO Audit includes a detailed report identifying any website technical on-site errors and issues. This report also includes suggestions for improving the health of your website for SEO.
SEO Strategy and Goals
With our monthly SEO packages, we can assist you further by analyzing your current business, understanding your goals and then tailoring a strategy that will work for your business. This is fundamental to SEO success and should be part of any good SEO agency offering.
This will include looking at your current website, as well as your industry competitors to understand your strengths and weaknesses, your customers and target audience before developing a new SEO strategy.
Keyword research and strategy
Keyword research and strategy is another important part of any good SEO offering. We do this by understanding what words and phrases you associate with your product and services. We will also use our competitor analysis to understand what key terms your competition is ranking for and if those key terms make sense for your business goals.
Once we have that information we can propose a plan that utilizes the selected key phrases to help your pages rank with search engines. Some of your existing content may already be set up well to take advantage of this strategy with some optimization, and in other cases, we may need to assist with content strategy and creation to target these key phrases.
Content Strategy and Content Creation
A good content strategy can take your SEO to the next level. Your website content needs to contain the right keywords and phrases to allow it to rank well. Creating keyword-rich content is a huge part of your overall marketing strategy.
Any good SEO company will offer advice on the best kind of content and how that relates to your keyword strategy. Some companies will even create the content for you (normally for an additional fee). Content strategy should also involve looking at your existing content and optimizing it where necessary to allow it to rank better with search engines allowing you to drive more organic traffic to your site.
After an SEO audit, some initial website optimization should be carried out on your website. This could be improving site speed, optimizing images, and making sure existing content has the right keywords, meta descriptions, and titles.
It could be some small adjustments to your most important pages to make sure that relevant keywords are being used. It may also mean removing content that isn’t working and making sure that plugins such as Yoast are configured so that only your strongest content is being indexed.
For local SEO it could be something as simple as making sure that your office/locations are listed on the home page, signaling to Google that you are in a specific area.
Submission to search engines
If you have a new website or have recently made adjustments and changes to your site, then it’s vital that you submit your site to search engines. This will allow them to check your content again and include it in search results.
Once submitted then it’s a matter of reviewing that existing content again and then it’s time to work on improving your rankings.
Ongoing support and updates
SEO is an ongoing and ever-changing landscape. To get the most out of it you should be working to optimize your content as you grow. With our monthly packages, we assist you with ongoing support, education, and analysis of your site as well as adjusting your strategy as SEO and your business changes.
It’s important to keep a heartbeat on algorithm changes as it could affect your SEO rankings. We’ll be sure to keep you notified if any major updates are affecting the performance of your site and make any necessary adjustments.
Time to take action
Now that you have a better understanding of how SEO can enhance your business marketing strategy, what an SEO management company is and what services they can help you with, it’s time to consider if an SEO company is right for you, or if it’s something you’ll do in-house.
Are you ready to take your company to the next level? Then you are ready to start strengthening your brand. What do you start with? A logo!
Logos are literally everywhere. They seem to follow us wherever we go.
In an era with plenty of products to choose from and little time to analyze every brand on the market, the decision of buying a certain product or not is influenced by its logo. It is as obvious as can be that logos play a crucial role in the success of a brand.
Whether you are looking at a brand new logo or a redesign, the possibilities are endless and let’s face it – overwhelming. This is why it’s important to consider important logo design principles. No need to know and apply every single one, but at least a few.
Even when you are not designing, keeping these principles in mind will help you stay focused and make better choices when collaborating with a designer. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a list of 5 things to pay attention to when designing a logo for your business.
1. Your logo should reflect your brand
That’s right. A logo is the face of a product. A good logo makes the audience instantly think of the brand it represents.
To get brutally honest for a moment. Logo design is not an art. We are not saying it should not look pleasing to the eye, on the contrary, but it is definitely not the sole purpose of a logo. A logo is a strategic business tool, that will distinguish your brand from a sea of other similar products.
As one of our favorite designers Michael Bierut said:
“Some think of logo design as a diving competition, when really it is a swimming competition. It is not about how big of a splash you make, but how long you keep your head above the water.”
2. Your logo should have a timeless design
Nike, a good example for a timeless logo. Created by Carolyn Davidson. Below are the 1978, 1985 and 1995 versions.
Trends come and go, but a good logo will withstand the test of time.
When designing a timeless logo, keep in mind that, in most cases, less is more. Opt for simple and recognizable shapes, don’t use unnecessarily complicated graphical elements, don’t use a visual just because it is trendy or it looks good. The more complex the design, the faster it will date. If your logo includes text, make sure to use classic, well-crafted fonts. Do not exaggerate with decorative fonts. In fact, if you can, use only one font, otherwise, your design will look busy to the eye and hard to remember. However, if you want some variety, use light/bold combinations of the same font, or check our work.
3. Your logo should be simple
We simply cannot stress that enough. Less is more.
Minimalism has, is, and will always be a good idea. It is more than a trend. Paradoxically, a simple logo will convey more meaning than a complex one. The explanation is… simple (pun intended): simple logos can be interpreted in more ways than complicated ones, so they mean something else to everyone. In this way, everyone gets them, and everyone can relate to them. This is why popular brands have simple logos.
Another perk of keeping it minimal is that such a logo is easy to manage and scale: it looks good on both a business card and a 6ft banner. Last but not least, an overcomplicated logo looks desperate, it looks like the brand tried too hard, and that doesn’t inspire trust.
4. Your logo should have wisely chosen colors
The color palette is one of the most important parts of a logo. Color choosing should not be a superficial decision. The right colors help you communicate the right ideas to the audience. It sets the tone for how you will be perceived as a brand.
For example, dark blue is associated with trust and reliability, as well as peace. Light blue is more refreshing, it represents ideas and innovation. This is why banks and politicians often use dark blue, while startups tend to use light blue. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It symbolizes energy, this is why a lot of energy drink brands use this color. Red, being a highly visible color, is also used to indicate danger, for this reason, it is used in traffic signs. Purple represents prestige, and green is associated with nature and life.
One interesting thing to note is that the biggest brand rivals use opposite colors in their logos:
Personally, some of our designers enjoy using black and white their designs.
An achromatic color palette provides versatility and timelessness to a logo. It can make a logo look both edgy and elegant. Black is a very bold color, it shows authority and power, while at the same time being less aggressive and emotionally stimulant as other powerful colors.
Some of our designers often use black & white with bright color accents – it draws attention to the vital parts and it makes the overall design pop.
5. Your logo should avoid clichés
New trends appear every now and then. I’m not saying it is bad to keep up with the new fads, but when the same idea is used over and over again, it comes to a point when it’s irrelevant.
Using a generic design defies the sole purpose of the logo – to be recognizable. Like using a globe to represent an international company, or a light-bulb/rocket for a startup. These are not bad ideas, but you should use them only if they represent your brand. Even if you use a popular symbol, bring your own twist to it, make it original, own it.
Before wrapping up, something we say at Enspire is: “logo design is more than just eye candy.”
You can take a look at some logos and other things we’ve created for our clients by checking out our work.
In a nutshell
A logo is a powerful tool to express your values as a brand, to communicate with your potential clients, earn their trust and build a strong connection. Define your brand story, be mindful of solid design principles and create a logo that will take your brand to the next level.
You don’t have to do it alone, either, as our design team would be glad to help. So get in touch!
5 Best Website Hosting Providers for WordPress
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