Secure that site with LetsEncrypt - Header

Secure that site with LetsEncrypt

You have heard about someone offering free (as in beer) website certificates (aka SSL certificates) for your website. Whoever told you this was not lying. It’s actually quite true! With the revelations regarding shady dealings with intelligence agencies, law enforcement, ISP and black-hat crackers (i.e., your “cyber-thieves”), there’s been an industry-wide push to secure communications. Letsencrypt.org was founded to help address some of the issues in the web industry that led to the widespread failure of website owners and operators in obtaining secure certificates.

HTTPS/SSL in a nutshell

The average website you visit is typically accessed over HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol). Accessing a site over HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is a different process from HTTP. Accessing a site over HTTP makes your traffic visible to everyone on the network. Using tools like WireShark, if you were to park yourself at the point where your network meets the internet, you’d be able to see all the traffic (URLs, content, form data) of people on your network. This is how people perform Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. In a MITM attack, someone sits on the connection between two networks and just eavesdrops on the data going back and forth. Also, by being in the middle of the communication stream, the attacker could modify the contents going back and forth, sending you malicious data and changing what you are transmitting to the server. Continue reading

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – The Next Step In Mobile Web - Header

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – The Next Step In Mobile Web?

With more and more website visits coming from mobile devices, speed becomes a vital piece of your website’s efficiency, even more so than with a desktop computer. Google has recognized this need for speed as mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches, and mobile usage continues to grow at a rapid rate.

That’s why popularity is building for a new web technology known as Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP HTML. Google announced the new initiative back in early October and has championed it heavily as we close out 2015 and head into 2016.

Google has recognized this fact as mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, and mobile usage continues to grow at a rapid rate. With more and more visits coming from mobile devices, speed becomes a vital piece of your website even more so than with a desktop computer.

Google's "Mobile-Friendly" Search Tag The growing use of mobile devices led Google to implement changes to their algorithm on April 21st, 2015 to use mobile-friendliness criteria as a ranking signal, and those who’ve made their website a positive experience for mobile visitors were awarded a “mobile-friendly” label in the search results. Bing followed shortly afterwards with their own “mobile-friendly” label, and this focus on mobile for both major search engines remains true today. Continue reading

Politeness Is Always A Virtue -- Especially For Websites - Header

Politeness Is Always A Virtue — Especially For Websites

Christmas is coming, and Christmas means gifts. People will be giving, and people will be receiving. Recently, I was discussing gift-giving etiquette with some business colleagues, and it turned out to be an interesting exchange, particularly when the conversation turned to the proper etiquette of receiving a gift.

gift giving Because of the hyper-sensitive attitudes of many people these days, one business owner asked how she can be sure that she won’t offend anyone with a gift that she gives. I said that my belief is that the person who should be concerned with not offending anyone is the person who receives the gift. It is, after all, a gift, and no one gives something with the intention of offending a person. Continue reading

Understanding DNS (Domain Name System) - Header

Understanding DNS (Domain Name System)

When transferring a website from one host to another or putting a brand new website live, there’s one step that tends to confuse people.  It’s called DNS which stands for Domain Name System. Explaining how DNS works can be a little complicated, but the concept by itself is fairly easy to understand.

For a website to be accessible on the internet a few things need to happen. The website files need to be hosted on a file server somewhere, usually accessed via FTP. The files then need to be accessed by means of a Domain Name which is the URL or address you type into your browser to get to that website. Google.com is a domain name, for example, as is sharpinnovations.com. But how exactly are these domain names linked to the servers that are hosting the website files? That’s where DNS comes in.

url

www.sharpinnovations.com is much easier for someone who wants to visit the Sharp Innovations website to remember than an IP such as 190.168.1.1 or 10.0.0.1

The DNS is essentially an address book for domain names that your computer uses to convert a URL that is easy to remember to an IP address, which tells the computer where to go to access a particular website. Think of it like a latitude and longitude of a business taken from the street address. 3113 Main Street is much easier to remember than the latitude and longitude. The URL you type in, such as sharpinnovations.com, is the easy-to-remember street address. The DNS then tells the browser the exact place to go to access that website. Continue reading

You Won’t Believe the 5 Things That are Slowing Down Your New Website or Redesign Project

You Won’t Believe the 5 Things That are Slowing Down Your New Website or Redesign Project

A request for a quick project turnaround is not unusual for clients who are in the process of building a new website. The excitement and anticipation of a website that is more user-friendly, aesthetically appealing, and new can create a desire to push the web design process along at a record pace.

How can you achieve the quickest turn-around on your new website project? We wanted to offer a few tips we’ve found helpful over the years that we’ve gathered since we started back in 1999. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure there are no speed-bumps in the process, and will keep the project moving along as quickly as possible. Continue reading

4 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Online Presence - Header

4 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Online Presence

If you are actively involved in your website’s marketing, you likely understand that there is no one method that will cover everything. In order to successfully market your website or brand you need a mix of services that might include search engine optimization (SEO), social media and blog management, paid advertisements, and email marketing. Just like your offline advertising, certain online advertising methods work best depending on your target audience and their preferences or needs.

The good news is there are some proven tactics you can follow, no matter what industry you are in or who your client base may be. We’ve gathered a list of four of our favorite ways to enhance your online presence by complementing the marketing strategies above, and we encourage you to get started on them today. Continue reading

Blogging for Your Website

When did you last update your blog? If your answer is along the lines of, “I think it was 2013, but it may have been 2012,” then it’s time for you to do something about your blog, and we’ll give you two good choices of what that something should be.

Blogging - WordPress First, you can simply take down your blog. That’s not the ideal choice because blogging is an excellent marketing tool and a good way to keep your clients updated on all the exciting new ways in which you can help them improve their lives. It also can help improve your search rankings as fresh content helps your website keep up to date, and adding quality content can enhance your website’s user experience. Continue reading

New & Improved SEO Offerings

As you well know, the world of Internet Marketing, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM), is constantly evolving. With this in mind we’ve recently updated and improved our services. We’ve fine-tuned our offerings into 3 tiers of client programs that meet any budget that our clients have. We have also kept pricing very competitive to keep pace with the ever-changing market, and can confirm this after speaking with six firms in our local region. In some cases pricing for programs like the Blogging Manager have been reduced effective July 1, 2015. To better serve you, our customers, we’ve added several new features and services to our SEO/SEM suite, like: Continue reading

Marketing Your Website

Corn Field You’ve built and launched a beautiful website that has everything your customers could possibly want. With all the money, time, and effort you’ve put into the new site, a stream of new clients looking for your goods or services should be a given. The Field of Dreams quote, “If you build it, they will come” resonates in your mind as you wait for the leads to roll in. But several months pass, and although you’ve received a few hits and perhaps an inquiry or two, doubts start to trickle in… “Is this all I get for making such a big investment in a new website?”

Unfortunately, the scenario above is one we see all too often. And yes, a slow trickle of leads (if any at all) is likely all you will receive unless you get serious about internet marketing. You wouldn’t open a shop down the street and not advertise, so why would you do the same with a website? Your website is your online presence much like a physical store is your offline one. Both need a targeted marketing strategy to help you reach new prospects and make more sales. Continue reading

Are Outdated SEO Tactics Sinking Your Website?

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), things change quickly. What was helpful to improving site rankings just a few years ago—or even a few months ago—may not only be irrelevant today, they may actually be doing more harm than good. With Google reporting nearly 900 algorithm changes in just a single year (more than 2 per day), staying on top of these changes can become a time and resource-intensive chSEO dropdown letters allenge.

Fortunately, only a handful of these hundreds of updates are major algorithmic changes that cause large fluctuations in the rankings and organic traffic. Some of the more well-known examplesof these large-scale changes include last month’s “Mobilegeddon,” or the much talked about “Penguin” and “Panda” updates that have continued to evolve and see frequent updates.

Given the constant state of change in the field of search optimization and search marketing, it’s no wonder many companies turn to the professionals to ensure their site is performing as well or better than their competition. But how can you be sure your internet marketing specialists are staying on top of the search marketing trends and best practices? Following are some of the top things you’ll want to be aware of if you’re shopping for an SEO firm. You should consider this a list of “red flags.” If your current search team is engaging in any of these practices, you may want to consider the team at Sharp Innovations, instead. Continue reading