Friday, 31 October 2014
What's POODLE and am I Vulnerable?
Many of you may already have heard about the Internet-wide security issue referred to as POODLE that came out on October 14, and have asked us if you need to do anything about it. The short answer is maybe, so if you have specific questions about your own application, let us know and we'll take a look.
Meanwhile, I'll include some details here in case you are wondering what it's all about. POODLE stands for "Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption" and allows a hacker to read encrypted information in plain text using a man-in-the-middle type of attack. It affects anyone using older Web browsers that use SSL version 3 (SSLv3), specifically Internet Explorer (IE) 6.
The risk is somewhat low since a hacker must first develop a man-in-the-middle attack which while not trivial, certainly can be done. It requires the taking over of a router or intermediate server somewhere between the two parties having the encrypted conversation, whether that be a visitor to a secure website or a behind-the-scenes payment transaction. One point here is that even if each end of the conversation has not been hacked, the man-in-the-middle can be anywhere in between the two, so you may never know he's there. If a hacker is able to do this, he can force SSL v3 connections if it is available as a fall-back option on both ends. Once that is done, they can read the encrypted information in plain text.
You may notice a Version 3 listed if you read the details on an SSL certificate on a site you visit. This does not refer to SSLv3, but rather to Version 3 of X.509 which is not related to this vulnerability.
The Internet community at large including 111 Web Studio, is taking steps to protect customers, so if your website or shopping cart uses SSLv3 to send transactions to third party payment gateways such as authorize.net, you will soon be unable to process transactions because they will be blocked by the provider. Some secure transaction providers and other security minded sites are also blocking access to their websites from IE6 browsers. If you would like us to look at that or other options for you, give us a call at 877.397.7605 or contact us and we'll implement it for you.
Posted on 10/31/2014 9:03 AM by Customer Service
Thursday, 30 October 2014
More Bad News for Drupal Sites
Apparently, there's more bad news for Drupal site owners. If you didn't perform the latest upgrade within 7 hours of the announcement (by 11PM UTC on 10/15/14) your site has almost certainly been hacked. Worse, the server it's on could possibly be breached as well. Drupal security experts Michael Hess and Bevan Rudge issued a public service warning on the matter that you can read,here.,
Drupal suggests the following steps to fix your problems:
- Take the website offline by replacing it with a static HTML page;
- Notify the server's administrator emphasizing that other sites or applications hosted on the same server might have been compromised via a backdoor installed by the initial attack;
- Consider obtaining a new server, or otherwise remove all the website's files and database from the server. (Keep a copy safe for later analysis);
- Restore the website (Drupal files, uploaded files and database) from backups from before 15 October 2014;
- Update or patch the restored Drupal core code;
- Put the restored and patched/updated website back online;
- Manually redo any desired changes made to the website since the date of the restored backup;
- Audit anything merged from the compromised website, such as custom code, configuration, files or other artifacts, to confirm they are correct and have not been tampered with,
- While recovery without restoring from backup may be possible, this is not advised because backdoors can be extremely difficult to find. The recommendation is to restore from backup or rebuild from scratch.
If you need assistance with your web presence, 111 Web Studio can build you a custom website that is as secure as is offered by the state-of-the-art in Internet security. We don't use Drupal and take the utmost care in handling customer information. Give us a call at 877.397.7605 or contact us for more information.
Posted on 10/30/2014 5:30 AM by Customer Service
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Call To Action Click Here Now!
Every piece of content you distribute to your audience should have a purpose. The purpose is quantified through a measurable conversion. The conversion could be, watching a video, clicking to the next page, sharing, liking, retweeting, signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, joining a cause; the list goes on. These conversions come in big and small packages and they are communicated sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in drill sergeant orders, with fireworks and fanfare. These purposes are achieved, most often, by a clear and well placed "Call To Action"
On each page of your website, each blog, each tweet and post, each email you send, you should have a call to action. The next step you want your audience to take needs to be clear, concise and enticing. You can offer them more than one, especially on a webpage. However, you should evaluate each page and decipher the most beneficial next step and make it just a little more enticing than the rest. This can be placement, design or simply the wording. Most calls to action need to be phrased somewhat like an order. Short, direct and intentional:
â‡’ Download Document
â‡’ Email Us
â‡’ Find Out More
â‡’ Sign Up Now
â‡’ Watch Video
On each piece of content you need to know what your purpose is, and how to guide your reader to where they should be. This is not always a one step process. You are building a relationship, so creating trust and comfort is a journey your potential client may need to be taken on, before they are ready to follow through on your end goal. The details of the process will be different for each business and scenario. However, the need for the call to action is universal.
The great thing about this process, is most of these types of conversions can be tracked. We can use analytics to figure out which calls are successful and which are not and adjust our efforts accordingly. This insight into your customers path to acquisition can make help you make vast improvements to your online business success. It's incredible to see how subtle changes to placement and wording can have dramatic effects on customer follow through. Its important to try different variables to back up your efforts with proven data.
Right now you can start implementing these into your online marketing efforts. You should go through your entire website and analyze each page for purpose and conversions. Place calls to action where you can, and use your analytics programs to track their success. If you need any assistance or have questions concerning your business and its online presence, please give us a call: 877.397.7605
If you have any questions about digital marketing, web design, SEO or alike, please feel free to contact us anytime: give us a call at: 877.397.7605 or Email us for more information.
Posted on 10/30/2014 9:00 AM by Mark McGowan
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
3 Tools to Boost Traffic To Your Website.
We know that building our clients a great, custom website is only the beginning of the process. Once you have this new look it isn't worth much if it doesn't get any traffic. There are many things you can do to help your website get off the ground. Today we will focus on three handy tools that are effective and easy to implement.
People tend to take the word of others seriously, especially those they consider influencial, so don't be bashful about soliciting earned endorsements. First identify those customers from whom you would like a testimonial and give them a personal call. If they don't know right off what they should say, you can give them some light guidence to help them get started. They will want to talk about what they know best about you and that's exactly what you want. Remind them they can call you or visit your website as they proceed if they have any questions about any of your products or services. You can post their comments as text on your site, as audio or even use a video testimonial. You might consider some humor in your presentation by enlisting the "skills" of a unique presenter like Immortal Lloyd!
Publicity can be generated in many ways, but a formal news release can often be a proactive tool you can use to create a positive buzz about your business. Find those publications or media outlets whose audience is most closely aligned with yours. If you can identify the editor who will be approving your content, you might have a chat up front to learn what they want in a release. Be sure your content is newsworthy and relevant to your targeted publication as well as your audience. Include a brief summary of who you are, the news content and if appropriate, one of the testimonials you generated earlier. Provide a link to your site and consider an incentive to early adopters of your offering.
And speaking of incentives, you can often raise awareness and generate interest by providing a "giveaway" of some sort to get a crop of new users on board quickly. Determine your target audience and devise a call to action that gets them to your offering quickly and easily. Remember, you're competing for their attention with a lot of other distractions. If it's not practical to provide your product directly, you can consider a free trial, a consultation, an audit, a discount or even an unrelated item like a T-shirt, tickets to an event or a gift to their favorite charity.
Remember that creativity sells, so be creative and have fun. The result will be more visitors and more business for you.
If you have a need for a great web site, an online marketing strategy, SEO implementation or custom programming, call 111 Web Studio at 877.397.7605 or contact us for more information.
Posted on 10/28/2014 9:19 AM by Customer Service
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
What the heck is a Blog?
Your digital marketing manager keeps telling you to write blogs. (If they are not you should probably be looking for a new one.) But what constitutes a blog? Understanding what a blog can be is a common roadblock to new blog content creators. So we are going to make it as simple as we can for you..
A blog is two things: Entertaining and/or informative content geared toward your target audience. And a sheet of keywords and data signals for search engines. That's it.
If you can create content that satisfies one of these things, that's great. If you do both, you nailed it. The parameters for the topic, style and composition are broad. There are of course good blog techniques to apply for a primer on that read our post: 10 Tips to Get Your Blog Noticed
Today I just want to really help you understand what a blog is designed to do. The first part is: entertain and inform your audience. This is a broad stroke and you should think of it as such. You can give them great expert advice in your line of business. You can tell them about a social event you or an employee is involved in. A local community you are involved in or supporting. Address current events that perhaps have some bearing on what you do, or in some cases, just something in the news you feel compelled to address. The key is to really understand your audience and to offer them something they will value. If you do that, then you have created a good blog post.
A blog post is not a sales pitch. It is not a place for you to push your products or to bombard your audience with self promotion. This is an offering of information that will have your reader feeling trust, and reassured that you are an authority in your field, and if you are really good, that you "get them."
The second element is producing data in your posts that are keyed toward search engine algorithms. These often change in some technical details, but for the in house content producers the rules stay fairly close. Use words in your posts that you think your average, potential customer, may search for. Try and use different variations and vernacular to cover your bases, and repeat the most common word, when possible. Insert links to other, valuable sources, and links back to your own website. Insert calls to action on every post; your reader needs to be directed where to go next.
If each of your posts addresses these things you will have a successful, organic, marketing stream. There are always possibilities for improvement. There will always be more you can do. But for those of you who are just beginning to be asked to write blogs for the first time, this should help the roadblock question "What is a blog?"
Now go write! This content will have a positive impact on your marketing efforts, and finding your rhythm will come with practice. But procrastinating over topics or doubt is a sure fire way to have a, empty blog and a dated, static, website. You should be working with a marketing team that will guide you further on best practices and on presentation and distribution methods. But nobody will be able to communicate your business knowledge better than you. You are the expert.
If you have any questions about blogging or any other SEO or digital marketing topics, please feel free to contact us anytime: give us a call at,877.397.7605 or Email us for more information.
Posted on 10/22/2014 8:58 PM by Mark McGowan
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Do Those Android Updates
Bad guys have figured out ways to pack malware into the wrapper that apps are wrapped in such that when you download a perfectly innocent app, you get the malware with it. There is a fix, though, so all is not lost. This is just another episode in the ongoing battle between hackers and the rest of us, so do your part to protect yourself and upgrade your android phone or tablet every time a new fix comes out. Same is true for Apple products on a regular basis, so you iPhone folks should take the same advice.
At 111 Web Studio, we try to stay vigilant and remind you of these exploits as they come up, but if you use any software from Windows to Mac to WordPress, Drupal or others, be sure to check regularly for security updates and perform them quickly. You are the first line of defense in your personal internet security and privacy.
If you have any questions about this issue, getting found on search engines, custom online software or the latest trends in web design, give us a call at 877.397.7605 or contact us for more information.
Posted on 10/22/2014 9:15 AM by Customer Service
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Using Drupal? You Know the Drill - UPGRADE!!!
If you are using Drupal 7, you absolutely need to upgrade to version 7.3 immediately... sigh. This drill seems like it's never ending, but it's a fact of life in today's Internet World. This particular vulnerability is a bad one. It allows a hacker to take total control of your site... and unfortunately, like many of these... it's easy to exploit.
We have continuously reported on WordPress, Drupal and other exploits as they have come up. They have resulted in uploading of malicious code, stolen credit cards, volume spam delivery, defacing of web sites and a myriad of other bad stuff (that's a technical term). Unsurprisingly, this particular exploit has been termed "highly critical" in case you were wondering. Happily, for those of you who use our Build111, Church111 or other 111 Web Studio system, you can be comfortable in the fact that when it needs patching, you don't have to worry about it... we do it, and we do it quickly, so you don't have to do it (shameless plug!!!).
If you have any questions about Internet security, web design, programming, search engine optimization or any other web related issue, please contact 111 Web Studio for more information by calling 877.397.7605 or contact us online.
Posted on 10/16/2014 11:10 PM by Customer Service
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Customer Satisfaction is the Currency for Success.
The Internet has always been a bullhorn for public opinion. But now more than ever these voices have become a powerful currency for a business's prosperity. This is the new face of digital marketing, and for most of us it is a great thing. Gone are the days of big budgets and sly marketing tactics being able to drown out the competition. Now more than ever your digital marketing progress will come from solid, organic, informative and entertaining content AND from serving your customers with excellence.
The value of customer feedback and reviews are substantial. They give your company real time insights into how your business is performing. And most importantly they give (supposedly) unbiased signals to your potential customer base about what to expect from you. This transmission of information about your business is moving faster and making bigger waves and it doesn't show signs of slowing down. So what does this mean for you? Well first it means that you need to be running a superb service, which your customers can't wait to rave about. But we are going to assume you are already running a business of repute and need to know how to harness this power.
To gain the most from your efforts the key is finding your advocates. Your advocates are your biggest fans; they are already loyal to your brand and will, if given the chance, happily shout it from the roof tops. To find these folks you have to be engaged in social platforms and through email, as well as person to person if applicable. You need to nurture these folks, give them incentives and also give them benefits. You need to have clear paths to gathering feedback; this should be done on your website, review sites and social media sites. You need to engage there, this is not a static, one sided, endeavor. It takes work, and it takes caring.
There is also a very important opportunity that arrives with negative feedback. As humans we tend to knee jerk when someone tells us something bad about ourselves, we may even spit back at the person. However in online marketing, the way your business deals with these situations can in some cases, work in your favor more than a simple positive review. Handling a dissatisfied reviewer with care and attention and doing it in a public forum, sends a big message to outsiders looking in. We all expect to find something negative being said, you cannot please everyone. In fact I think we would be a little wary of a company that has a pristine profile. But seeing active customer service attention will give me confidence that I am choosing a company that values its customers.
Today you need to establish a profile for your business on Google + and Yelp, you should also be active on Facebook and Twitter. Depending on your area of business there are dozens of different review sites you may want to be active in also. You should have a clear path on your website for customer feedback and even use a service like Survey Monkey to contact your customer base and gather this information. You also need to monitor all these areas and anywhere else your customer base may be: chat rooms, groups, and even competitor sites. You need to see the whole picture so you can ensure your online reputation fits your brands goals.
Customer reviews and referrals are becoming, and I am sure will be, the most powerful currency in online decision making for new customer acquisitions. Whether you are a food truck or an insurance agent, a car salesman or a hospital, this applies across the board. The time to harness this potential is now.
If you have questions about these or any other digital marketing topics, we will be glad to discuss them with you. Contact Us Here or Call 877-397-7605
Posted on 10/16/2014 9:58 AM by Mark McGowan
Thursday, 9 October 2014
Add Unique Value Don't Chase Trends.
"The chief enemy of creativity is good sense" Pablo Picasso
Creating truly effective content for your marketing takes a lot more than simply adding content based on current trends. In fact, to be one of the truly outstanding players in your market, you may need to run from trends, and take a leap in another direction. What this really means, in a universal sense, is to understand your company and the unique value it brings to the market and give that to your audience. Take a focused look at what you really have expertise in and focus very specifically on that. Then understand your audience and how you can give them this gift of information and in an engaging and honest way.
This is the situation every business finds itself in. Trying to compete in an already saturated market by finding the top players and attempting to mimic them is a battle in futility. We chase the existing trends in hopes we will be able to masquerade as being hip and in the know. But these will mostly, if not always, get lost in the noise. Now when you are building skills and learning certain aspects of digital marketing, following your peers can bring value. You can learn technique and presentation skills and hone in on other technical details. However, the reason these key players are seen as such is because they were at the head of the trend. Being ahead of the curve is how you become a true value. Offering information to people before they know they want or need it. Bringing it in a unique package and presenting it to them in way that is focused on the information and not compelled by the markets current expectations.
"This isn't something you have to invent, you don't have to bolt on what makes you fascinating, but you do have to identify it and amplify it and express it and become more of it." Sally Hogshead
We see this type of trend shift in every area of every market. We know that one minute Disco is all the rage and next it is hair metal. You knew you needed a gigantic suburban right before you were swayed toward your electric car. The market does not call for these changes; the leaders of the pack create them. Each of you has an expertise and a unique vision. Each of you should share that in your own way and with a fearless disregard for current direction. Each of us and each of our business' have something that will fascinate our audience. If you understand this process and how to activate those "triggers" you will be a successful voice in the market. For a really great lecture on this watch this Ted Talk from Sally Hogshead on "How to Fascinate" It gives a really great layout for this process:
You can also go back and read our blog on High Impact Web Design: 7 Seconds For A First Impression. Making a splash in your pool requires a multitude of tools. But as Sally Hogshead says, "This isn't something you have to invent, you don't have to bolt on what makes you fascinating, but you do have to identify it and amplify it and express it and become more of it." If we all spend time understanding this it will create better content and a higher rate of engagement and ultimately more success.
If you have questions about these or any other digital marketing topics, we will be glad to discuss them with you. Contact Us Here or Call 877-397-7605
Posted on 10/09/2014 9:45 AM by Mark McGowan
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Adobe Spying on You Secretly
UPDATE 10/24/14: Adobe has tweaked their application such that now, they encrypt the data being sent back to them, so they are still spying on you, but now your data are "safe" since only Adobe will have them. Good grief.
If you use Adobe Digital Editions to read your eBooks, you may want to reconsider. It turns out the application sends all manor of information back to Adobe about what you're reading, when you're reading it and what other eBooks you have on your device. Based on where it's going, (adelogs.adobe.com) it seems as if Adobe plans to use the information to either advertise to you or sell the information so someone else can do so. However, regardless of their purpose, this seems a blatent disregard for your personal privacy. Internet privacy is difficult enough when you give permission for your data to be made public, but for a company to surripticiously access your information and send it back so they can use it is unethical in the extreme.
If you are interested, the data includes user ID, device ID, certified app ID, duration for which the book was read, percentage of the book read, date of purchase, distributor ID, title, author, publisher, list price, IBSN number and the meta data for all the other books on your device regardless of whether they were ever read using the application.
Posted on 10/08/2014 9:50 AM by Customer Service