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How to Increase the Security for Your Website

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The security of your business’s website should be one of your highest priorities. A secure website is one of the best ways that you can establish trust with your customers. The security of your website will directly impact your number of visitors and has the potential to hinder or boost your sales. With the massive number of website intrusions this year alone, hacking has become a major concern for most online shoppers. Whether it is to protect your website or your customers personal or financial data, a secure website is a must have. The following are some tips for creating a strong and secure website environment for your consumers. Securing Your Website

Use a Strong Administrative and Database Password:

Creating a strong administrative and database password will prevent hackers from accessing the admin interface and from taking over your entire online business. If a hacker does gain entry to your website’s administration panel they can pretty much do whatever they please from defacing your website to committing fraud by pretending to be you or your company. To learn more about creating strong passwords visit Elements of a Strong Password.

Secure Admin Email Address

An admin email address is used to login to your web server, CMS, database. It should be kept private and different from the one that you have on your contact page.

Make sure you have Firewalls Implemented:

Configuring a firewall will help prevent unauthorized access to your site and acts as a filter for the information that is sent to and from your website. You should configure your firewall to the highest security preferences so that it will deter hackers from attempting to gain entry to your site.

Update Your Antivirus Program Regularly:

New malicious programs are created and discovered every day so it is important that you not only have Antivirus software but that you also keep it up to date. Antivirus programs scan, track, and remove any problems from your hard drive. Like Antivirus software a spyware program can detect and eliminate any spyware that has made a home on your hard drive.

Read the Latest Information on Tech Blogs:

Reading tech blogs regularly will keep you up to date on the most recent vulnerabilities and will help you stay one step ahead of hackers.

Use robots.txt to Keep Certain Things Hidden from Search Engines:

Add a robots.txt folder for the documents, images, and information that you do not want to be indexed by search engines.

Use a Secured FTP Access and Restrict Root Access

SFTP access prevents others from being able to view what you are uploading or downloading to & from the webserver. Restrict the access to certain non-system folders to prevent FTP uploads by people other than the system administrator.

Check Your Software and Third Party Scripts:

Ensure that any software you use is kept up to date with the latest security fixes. (Blogging software like WordPress, third party scripts, etc.) Also remove any scripts, services, or other software that you are no longer using.

Perform Security Testing:

It is important that once you have the previous security items in place that you perform security testing. Search your website and source code for any security flaws that may allow unauthorized access. You can check your source code for free with Source Code Analysis Tools. Using security plugins like WordPress Security Scan are also a great way to analyze the security of your site.

Keeping your website secure is a never ending job, there will always be new threats and hackers will continue to find new ways to gain unauthorized access. Implementing these suggestions in addition to doing your own research will help you to stay as far ahead of these types of individuals as possible

Thanks for Reading!

Dustin - Chesapeake Digital Technologies

Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


Small Business Website Tips for Increasing Your Online Sales

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Directing traffic to your website is only the first part of increasing your online sales. In the past we have often discussed the various methods for targeting your potential customers but what happens when they are actually on your website. Do your visitors follow through with a purchase or do your leads tend fizzle out? With this question in mind we offer the following suggestions to increase the likelihood of a sale once your customers are able find you on the Web. Increasing Website Sales

Ease Your Customer’s Fear:

With most transactions there are associated risks. It is very important to address these risks because they may immediately deter your potential customers. Having a secure website, a customer privacy policy, and offering a money back guarantee is just a few ways that you can put your customer’s fears to rest.

Create Value and Offer Incentives:

One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows people to easily explore their options however this can also make it hard for a business to stand out amongst competitors. It will help if you offer additional value whether it is through better pricing, a higher level of quality, or better customer service.

Display Genuine Testimonials:

The past positive experiences of your current customers can help encourage new customers to choose your products or services. People love reviews because they help them to predict their level of satisfaction based on the experiences of others. A positive and genuine customer testimonial can often prove to be a major factor in a visitor’s decision to choose your company over one of your competitors.

Build a Relationship:

Be sure to express product or service recommendations based on the information that your customers provide. Making a one-time sale might be your initial goal but you should always strive to build a long term or an ongoing business to client relationship. Nurturing this type of relationship will not only influence future business with that particular customer but it will also increase your reputation and show your potential customers that you care. Follow up emails, subscriptions, memberships, loyalty programs, customer satisfaction surveys, and product recommendations are all great ways to continue positive communication with your customers.

Additional suggestions include:

  • Allowing your customers to focus by limiting the number of products offered on each page.
  • Creating an attention grabbing headline for your products page.
  • Clearly expressing your products, how they work, and how it will benefit the customer.
  • Focusing on your visitor by using terms like “you and your” while avoiding “we, me, and I”.
  • Creating a sense of urgency without being pushy. For example use “limited time only” or “Available while supplies last”.
  • Using various color schemes and text formatting to grab your visitor’s attention.
  • Determining what methods, prices, or product features work best for your business and attracts more customers. (Split Testing)

These are just some basic suggestions that can be implemented to increase your online sales. I urge you not to stop here and continuously explore your own ideas to discover what works best for your business.

For additional tips please visit How to increase sales and 6 Sure Ways to Increase Sales!

Thanks for reading and Good Luck with increasing your business’s sales.




15 Methods to Market a Small Business Online

Friday, September 9th, 2011

According to PRWeb a new survey indicates that although the number of small businesses that have a website has increased from 50% to 80% over the past two years, more than 40% still do not know how to professionally market their site. The survey also provided the following statistics:website-marketing

  • 20% of small businesses don’t have a website, of that 16% do plan to have one in the future.
  • 41% believes their websites bring exposure but 28% don’t know if the website helps.
  • 40% report they need help with small business SEO on their website for better search rankings
  • 37% say they need help using Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
  • Nearly 35% need help with email marketing promotions.
  • 33% need help building inbound links to their website.

Unless you are a big name brand just having a website will not bring in the amount of traffic that you want. It is very important that you not only have a website but that you also know how to market it as well. The following are 15 methods to market a small business online, we have covered many of these tips individually so be sure to visit the links provided to get a more in depth look at each.

  • Build a Website

Although it is possible to have an online presence without a website it is always advised that the following methods are used to compliment your website rather than replace it. Creating a website yourself or paying someone to create one for your small business should be your first step. Your website will act as a central hub and connect with the rest of your online marketing efforts.

  • Perform SEO

Search engine optimization or SEO is performing on page and off page methods to improve the visibility and rank of a website. SEO aims to generate greater traffic by increasing a website rank and authority in the search engines. If you are unfamiliar with Search engine optimization then you should hire an SEO expert.

  • Start Blogging

Having a blog can help market your website tremendously. A blog is an excellent way to reach out to your existing clients and gain more along the way. A blog is extremely easy to set up and manage. Blogs offer a quick way to supply news, promotions, ideas, or other information to your audience. A blog can also establish you as a professional and offers an effective way to provide customer support. Additionally a blog will help earn your company respect, increase the traffic to your website, allow you to gain feedback, and may help you rank better because search engines like Google really like websites with blogs.

  • Participate in Social Media

Social media has become a major influence in the world of Internet marketing. Using social media is easy to do and the reach is global. Social media is a great resource for any business because it has the ability to quickly spread your message and target your potential customers. Participating in social media establishes a communications platform that can assist companies with proactively monitoring and controlling their customer communication and perception.

  • Use YouTube

Like most social media sites YouTube is a great resource for free marketing. Anyone with an account can upload a YouTube video but the real goal is to increase your presence and offer valuable entertainment to the other users. YouTube will generate more visibility for your website and will help it rank better in Google.

  • Claim Local Listings

Businesses can increase their local presence with sites like Google Places , Bing Business Portal, Yelp, YellowPages, Superpages, InsiderPages, Localeze, CitySearch, or InfoUSA. These types of websites provide local citations or web references. Local citations are when another website mentions a business and its contact information, this can occur with or without a link to the business’s website.

  • Read and Submit Reviews

Keep current with the reviews that your customers are leaving about you on review websites like Yelp. If you find a negative review take the necessary actions to correct the situation and if you find positive reviews find a way to work them into your website or sales pitch.

  • Email Newsletters

Email campaigns can be a great way for a business to generate an increase in traffic and sales. Many companies employing email campaigns often fall short of accomplishing their goals because their emails appear too spammy, lack customer value, or fail to project any personality. When sending out emails try to give your customers something to care about and appreciate, rather than just bothering them with useless information. Only relevant and appropriate information should be included such as promotions, events, product updates, business changes, and other information worthwhile for your consumers

  • Use QR Codes

A Fairly new method of internet marketing is using QR codes. These are two-dimensional icons that can be scanned by smartphone cameras to automatically pull up text, photos, videos, music, URLs, and even make phone calls or send emails. This form of brand marketing is on the rise and is providing businesses with many new, creative, and effective marketing opportunities.

  • Read and Comment on Blogs

Commenting on blogs and participating in online discussions will build a credible reputation for you and your business. Online discussion will expand your network and open your website up to new customers. Some blogs even allow you to link your website to your comment which can provide a valuable backlink to your website.

  • Join an Online Community and Participate in Forums

Joining online communities and participating in online forums is similar to commenting on other website’s. Forums provide an outlet for you to reach new customers and increase your visibility. Joining an online community specific to your industry is great for learning, networking, sharing experiences, locating job opportunities, meeting experts, and finding solutions to problems.

  • Submit Press Releases

Submitting a press release or article to a directory works similar to a posting on your blog except that it is on another website where it can be seen by a different audience. If you submit unique and high quality content it has the potential to attract visitors to your website.

  • Create Online Contest and Promotions

Create and advertise free stuff or promotions. Special promotions for online customers will most likely attract visitors. Holding an online contest is another great way to get your customers involved and even attract new ones in the process.

  • Create Infographics or High Quality Content

An infographic is a pictorial representation of specific data or knowledge. Infographics can be a great way to showcase information on a particular subject area and can prove to be a good source of link value. Infographics have the ability to transform the plain material into interesting and exciting web content. Infographics have a reputation of being able to quickly spread across the internet which is why they are great for SEO.

  • Link Exchange

A Link exchange or Reciprocal Link is one of the many ways for a website to gain backlinks. Backlinks are crucial to increase the link value and rank of your website. Reciprocal links are when two websites agree to exchange links with each other. Google looks at both the quantity and quality of a website’s backlinks which is why it is important to build your website’s backlink portfolio.


These are just some basic tips on marketing your small business or company website. These should provide a good starting point to get your company name out there and allow you to start attracting more visitors.

Thanks for Reading!



The Importance of Website Title Tags and Best Practices

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

One of the most important elements of a website is the title tag. A title tag is technically called a title element which is contained in the heading section of the website’s HTML code. A Title tag is required for all HTML/XHTML documents and defines the title for each web page. The title tag is considered the primary text description of an online document and besides the actual content it is regarded as the most important of all Search Engine Optimization factors.title tag

What Makes the Title Tag So Special?

Although every webpage is required to have a title tag most businesses neglect to optimize them. A company website isn’t complete without a fully optimized title tag. With an optimized title tag you can greatly increase the chances of customers coming to your website. Optimized title tags are extremely important for websites because they are visible in three distinct locations. These locations include the top of the browser window, the search engine results page (SERP), and the links from external websites.

Title tags draw a lot of attention to the top of the browser window. This position also enables a page visitor to know immediately where they are and if they are in the right place. Other websites and social media often use the title tag as the anchor text when linking to your site. When displayed on a search results page the title tag can also quickly grab the attention of a searcher and influence them to you visit your website. Since the title tag is a highly important search engine ranking factor it directly coordinates with what users are searching for and allows you to target a specific audience. Title tags also help target important keywords. This again helps with ranking better in search engines and finding potential customers. The title tag also appears when people bookmark your page and lets them know what your site is at a quick glance.

How Do You Optimize a Title Tag?

As you can see the benefits of having an effective title tag are tremendous. Most importantly an optimized title tag has the potential to attract valuable traffic to your website and business. The following are some of the best practices associated with creating title tags.

  • Optimal Formats:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

(Leverages your keywords, products or services)

Brand Name | Primary Keyword and Secondary Keyword

(Leverages your brand name and is recommended for bigger or more reputable companies)


  • Place important keywords closer to the front of the title tag.
  • Use less than 70 characters, otherwise the search results will show ellipsis – “…” to indicate that a title tag has been cut off.
  • Create a descriptive and relevant keyword-laden title tag. The title tag is thought to be the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.
  • Create a compelling title that encourages users to visit your site while maintaining your relevance and integrity.

The title tag is hands down one of the most important elements of a website other than its content. In order for a business to take full advantage of the opportunity that the title tag provides they must fully optimize it for their website and keywords. By following the best practices that were outlined in this article a website can be well on their way to gaining more relevant traffic and a higher conversion rate.


Thanks for Reading have a Great Day!




Online Tools to Enhance the Usability and Customer Experience of Your Website

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Usability testing is all about collecting feedback from your website’s visitors and using that information to further improve your website’s performance. Companies perform website usability testing to assess the level of functionality, design, and navigation. Once gathered, the information from the assessment is used to implement changes or enhancements that increase quality and user experience.


from, June 2011

When it comes to testing, the developers or designers are often too close to the project to properly address usability. Usability testing should be conducted using people who only have basic knowledge about the site and are unfamiliar with the layout and navigation. Usually a company will hire a few individuals to test the website and an observer monitors them to see how intuitive the testers find the website. The individuals that are conducting the test will typically ask the tester task oriented questions like “if you wanted to make a purchase, where would you go? These types of questions address whether or not the website has its important pathways labeled.

In addition to performing a small task the tester will be asked to provide their opinion regarding design layout, style, colors, pictures and other elements found throughout the website. The company’s goal is to see if the users can quickly get a feel for the site, understand its purpose, navigate it easily, and find it visually enjoyable. Regardless of how much brainstorming takes place during the creation of the website there will always be something that someone misses or a better way to do something. This is why usability testing is so important, during these test designers get to take a step back and see what they missed. The site visitor or potential customer holds the final opinion and it’s the site’s level of usability that directly correlates with the number of visitors and the level of customer satisfaction.

These types of tests happen throughout several phases of website development. As problems are discovered and solutions are implemented the customer experience and usability of the website will greatly increase. The customer isn’t the only one benefiting from usability testing. For the business, usability testing works on guiding customers to the company’s end goal whether it’s selling a product, receiving customer data, or simply providing information.

Although an in person observation may be the most effective way to perform a usability test, there are also a number of online usability tools that can assist in similar functions. The following is 5 tools to help increase the usability of a website. These types of tools monitor and track user actions to determine if they can efficiently navigate the website.

  • ClickDensity

ClickDensity helps identify and address website architecture errors. By producing heat maps, ClickDensity displays which areas and links on a website are most popular. The heat maps enable users to view where people like and don’t like to click to make it extremely quick and easy to design and optimize a website’s layout.

  • Concept Feedback

Concept Feedback enables users to optimize their usability based on the prospective of an outsider. With this tool a website can be uploaded and examined by a professional web design team. Following their testing the team of experts provides detailed solutions and recommendations within 48 hours

  • 4Q Survey:

The 4Q Survey helps build customer engagement by asking four important questions. The questions are, based on today’s visit, how would you rate your site experience overall? Which of the following best describes the primary purpose of your visit? Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today? (If yes) What do you value most about the [sitename] website? (If no) Please tell us why you were not able to fully complete the purpose of your visit today? The software provides an intuitive suite of online tools to review your customer feedback and create solutions.

  • FiveSecondTest:

The Five Second tests help users perfect their landing pages and call to actions. With this tool you can create a set of questions that you think testers should be able to answer quickly upon viewing your site. In order to see if your design is calling attention to the right elements, a screen shot of your website is displayed to a group of testers. However the screenshot is only displayed for five seconds and following the five seconds the testers are asked to answer the set questions. The Test then reports the answers graphically to show what areas drew the tester’s attention the most.

  • OpenHallway

OpenHallway lets website owners conduct remote usability testing. Various scenarios or projects can be created to test and observe web visitors. Once a scenario is designed and the directions are uploaded a user will log in and begin testing. During the test the monitor and voice of the tester are recorded. They are encouraged to speak their thoughts throughout the test and share their final thoughts as they upload their recording. This tool allows you to get the same experience as traditional testing without requiring people to travel, or having to create an observation environment and purchasing observation equipment.

We chose to focus on these five tools because each of them performs usability testing in a different way. There a number of tools available however there functions often repeat. Some of the other usability testing tools include Clicktale, Userfly, User Testing, Google Website Optimiser, and Webnographer.

Website usability and customer experience are crucial when it comes to your business website and should never be overlooked. Don’t limit yourself to one tool, many of these programs offer free trials so try them out and find the one that works the best for you.

Thanks for Reading have a Great Day!




Major Security for Major Websites Does Not Always Prevent Vulnerabilities

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Online security threats and system vulnerabilities will always be an issue on the Internet regardless of the amount of security we implement. As the security for major online companies gets smarter the hackers and computer viruses get more inventive as well. This balance is unlikely to disappear because there will always some kind of benefit for people who perform these destructive actions. Whether it is for notoriety, money, or information the effects of these actions require companies to be forward thinking and remain focused on the protection of their users.


Following the largely publicized PlayStation Network Hack a couple weeks ago, two other major websites experienced their own misfortune. For Google it was discovered that their images were replaced with malware and Facebook was also notified that their applications were unintentionally leaking information to third parties. Although these two incidents are completely different with one being pure mischief and the other being an oversight the two cases highlight severe vulnerabilities for major websites.

After weeks of user complaints Google identified that some of their Google Images search results were pointing users to webpages that forced misleading anti-virus scans and security alerts. The attackers apparently infiltrated high trending Google Image search results and planted their own PHP scripts to generate their own malicious content. Once their own PHP scripts were implemented the Google bots crawled and eventually displayed thumbnails for their bogus web pages. When clicked on, the image redirected users to a bad page. Google is currently working hard to remove all of the bad links. For more specific details on how and what was affected visit More on Google Image Poisoning.

Shortly after Google realized their security flaw, Facebook was notified by Symantec regarding their security issue. On Tuesday May 10, 2011 Symantec published that Facebook applications have been unintentionally leaking user information to third parties. Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact number of affected users it is estimated that the information of hundreds of thousands of users could have been exposed. However Symantec and Facebook state that it is also possible that most of the third parties didn’t even realize the leaks.

The leaks occurred through access tokens which are basically authorization codes that are assigned once a user accepts or grants permission to a Facebook application. Once Facebook was notified of the leaks they implemented the necessary changes which are described in the Facebook Developers Blog. Concerned users can take their own actions to nullify any current access tokens by changing their account password. As mentioned although these leaks were accidental this incident provides a perfect example for the vulnerabilities that websites like Facebook still have even with good security.

Sometimes the bigger the company, the bigger the target. Security should always be a crucial aspect and top priority for any business.  It is not only up to the major websites to try to stay head of the relentless security threats and system vulnerabilities, the individual users should do their part as well by being educated about online risks and by taking the appropriate precautions to remain safe.

Thanks for Reading and Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


Cyber Criminals, Targeting Your Sympathy in the event of a tragedy!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

When natural disasters occur many people and groups across the world feel sympathetic to those that have to endure through the hard times.   Whether it is through donations, prayer, or assisting in reconstruction, people usually come together and offer their support in one form or another.   However, this of course is not always the case and where good hearted people may see an opportunity to help out there are others out there that are looking to take advantage of the situation.

phishingAlthough the Internet has greatly advanced over the past years it still remains vulnerable to cyber criminals.   Even with the number of safety and security precautions established on the Internet the number of threats has nearly doubled within the last two years.   Social media may be partly responsible for the growing number of threats because as the number of web users increases so does the number of these attacks.

Taking into consideration how much the Internet has evolved and the number of security features that have been implemented one thing remains the same and that is the human factor.   Not all people are good and this is evident with cyber hackers, criminals, and the other individuals that only see the negative opportunity when tragedy occurs.

There are a number of ways cyber criminals take advantage of the Internet and web users. Among the most frequently used methods is phishing.  These websites and emails are designed not so much to take advantage of the people impacted by a tragedy but the sympathy and compassion others express following the disaster. These sites and emails are created to make them appear as a legitimate company, meanwhile they have no connection to that company whatsoever nor do they have any intention of offering the support they are promising.   Their only purpose is to gain access to your information and money.   Following the devastation in Japan or any of the other natural disasters like the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina , most the time people want to help which makes them a perfect target for online scammers.

Often times it is amazing how quickly support efforts are rallied. It is shocking but not surprising that just as fast as support efforts are gathered the same is being done for fraudulent swindles. As if the catastrophe wasn’t bad enough now the people who are trying to do something to help and make a difference now have the misfortune of being mislead and cheated as well.   Not only are these individuals cheated out of money but the group of people facing the tragedy is not receiving the help and support they were meant to have.

Already a number of fraudulent relief efforts have been reported and there are probably many more that are yet to be discovered.   Its important to remember that there always has been and most likely always will be someone trying to profit from the kindness of someone else and not to fall victim to their attempts.   Remember that these criminals seek out these opportunities and take every advantage to exploit them.   Some key tips include not providing your information through email and making sure that you are doing your research before donating.   If you wish to help make sure you locate a secure, legitimate and reputable organization for which to offer your support with.

Learn more by going to the links below

Current situation in Japan

CBS News, Disaster in Japan

Have a Great Day!


Providing Tech Support for Businesses in Maryland


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