Thursday, 28 August 2014
High Impact Web Design: 7 Seconds For A First Impression

They say you have 7 seconds to make a first impression. The same goes for your online presence. More often than not, your website is going to be the first visual representation, a potential client, experiences for your company.  We think that's pretty important. With so much riding on this almost instantaneous moment of judgment, having good web design is more important than ever before. Customers are won and lost in these brief seconds. We want our clients to be heavy weight contenders in their market. There are numerous factors to take into account during the design process. The combination of ascetics, responsive design, user interface and the content and placement of conversion points, all combine to create a cohesive experience for your audience. Here are a few examples from our portfolio that display these attributes:

We created a parallax timeline feed using a mixture of javascript, css, and magic, along with some fancy design to give our client an innovative way to show off their rich history of products. Launch Full Site +

To give our client a responsive, mobile firendly, customer experience, while simplifying their message we moved them to a one page website format. This site uses some simple javascript and our Build 111 CMS to create the one page look using multiple pages in a simple, seamless one page site. We also helped create the logo. And we designed it. We did some consulting to boot. Because that's what we do. Launch Full Site +

We made good use of large, top notch, photography, for a big impact. Displaying photos of things you created or built, in artistic industries, can make for a impressive first impression. This site is a multilayer-ed treasure. If anything, it's worth exploring to see the wonderful buildings this firm has helped bring to life. Oh, and the site is nice to boot. Launch Full Site +

111 Web Studio (A division of ICGLink) has been creating high impact, custom web design for almost 20 years. We understand it's importance and we offer our clients an in depth process of consultation to get the job done right. If your business understands the value of your online presence and needs a little facelift, we would be happy to discuss how we can help you elevate that experience for your audience and make you a top contender in your market place. For more information or to speak with us about this Call: 877-397-7605 or Email:

Posted on 08/28/2014 9:15 AM by Mark McGowan
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Change that Password One More Time

A new study by Trustwave, the PCI compliance testing folks, has discovered that easy passwords are still a huge problem despite warnings from IT staff about internet security. Worse still, even short but complex passwords are also easily cracked because today's processors can throw 17.3 billion calculations per second at the problem. Their test comprised of trying to crack over 600,000 passwords they harvested during two years of penetration testing. They were successful in cracking 92% of those passwords within 31 days. So the question becomes, "Okay, then... what makes a good password?" What was it about the 8% that made them safe?

First of all, weak or default passwords are still widely used. Amazingly, a third of the passwords tested were weak or default passwords. If you add to that a test against last year's list of most widely used passwords, you can grab over half. The most common password was,Password1,with,Hello123, password,,Welcome1, banco@1, Training, Password123,and,job12345,not far behind. But those of you who think you're safe with something like,N^a&$1nG,shouldn't get too smug. Because it's only 8 characters, a password like this one took less than 4 days to crack using nothing more than a $2700 computer built for the purpose. As it turns out, the best passwords to protect against cracking attacks are long ones. A password such as,GoodLuckGuessingThisPassword,would take 17 years to crack, so when you need a secure password for any purpose, consider a nice long phrase you can easily remember. It will make your life easier and give the bad guys a headache at the same time.

And a note to IT staff... Don't require your users to change their passwords on a regular basis. It turns out that people will create easier and easier passwords the more times they need to change them.

If you have any questions about Internet security, web design, web hosting, search engine listings or any other related subject, give us a call at 877-397-7605 or contact 111 Web Studio,for more information.

Posted on 08/26/2014 10:08 AM by Customer Service
Thursday, 21 August 2014
Online Marketing: Not Every Bite is the Catch You Want

Online marketing is often labeled a success by producing an increase in traffic. While this is not incorrect, and increased viewership, clicks or re-tweets are nice, without attracting real prospects, there is little to no value to your business. In fact, it can become a drain on your resources. The distraction of following hollow leads, and empty clicks, may mean your time is spent caressing your ego instead of seducing valuable, prospective customers. This is the vital detail left out from the cold call, off-shore, SEO company who tells you they can "increase your traffic by 30%, guaranteed.." While this is all well and good, if none of this traffic is going to eventually result in a purchase or business conversion, it is simply wasted efforts.

If you are going to make the concerted effort to increase your business productivity with online marketing, you need to know whom your prospective customer is. You need to understand them, learn their language, their likes and dislikes. It is a big online dating game, the trick is, you want to make them come to you. Yes that's right, digital marketing, needs to be subtle, it needs to be seductive. You are giving them information, giving them value, and all of this suggests you are the authority in your field. Essentially the bait you are fishing with should be for the catch you want. If you are fishing with antelope on your hook instead of worms, don't be surprised if you reel in a panther instead of a bass. (They are also a real pain to get off the hook!) So while creating any content for your blog, website and social media is good, creating specific, niche, valuable, content that appeals to your customers, is where online marketing can truly elevate your business.

If today you have made no efforts in online marketing at all, I would suggest that just taking the first steps and putting out any content relevant to your field is worthwhile. If you are already making these steps, you see your stats shooting north; it is time to fine-tune your efforts and reel in the catch you want. If you know who your customers are, what do they need? What are the questions they want answers to? What are the tips they will value? If you become a source of high quality information and usable guidance to your prospective client, they wont need a sales pitch; they will knock on your door.

If you have any questions about your companies current SEO, Social Media, Digital Marketing, Blog Content, Campaigns or Branding, please give us a call at: 877 397-7605 or email We are always glad to advise how you can improve your business marketing efforts.


Posted on 08/21/2014 11:53 AM by Mark McGowan
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Ransomware Foiled... a bit.

Two IT companies partnered to create a free tool (no longer available) to decrypt your encrypted data if you get hit with the Cryptolocker ransomware. All you have to do is upload an encrypted file and they will send you a decryption key.

You may have experienced or at least heard about Cryptolocker ransomware. It is a nasty way for hackers to get you to give them money in return for your own data. If you open a file with the Cryptolocker virus on it, your hard disk will be encrypted and the miscreants will require a ransom to provide a decryption key allowing you to decrypt your files. The FBI reports that over half a million computers have been attacked, yielding the hackers some $27m in ransom since the virus showed up on the scene in September of 2013.

Of course, the way to avoid getting the virus is not to open attachments from people you don't know or visit links that might be a risk, but if you do get hacked, at least there is an alternative to paying the freight or wiping your hard drive and starting over.

Internet security firm FireEye and threat intelligence company FoxIT used a trove of half a million encryption keys recovered in an FBI raid to build the tool. Of course, the bad guys have come out with new versions of Cryptolocker that are not able to be cracked by the system, but older versions can be unencrypted.

If you have any questions about this or other web related issues, give us a call at 877 397-7605 or contact 111 Web Studio for more information.


Posted on 08/19/2014 10:01 AM by Customer Service
Thursday, 14 August 2014
Business Success Tips: Stand Out, Create Appeal & Maintain Trust

There are two key components to securing business online: Appeal and Trust. Every business now has competition, both locally and from the global reach of the Internet. It's also undeniable that the online presence of your company has become a prime piece of marketing real estate for your company. Today you have potential customers looking for the services you offer, they do an online search and compare companies without them ever knowing they are there. Business opportunities are won and lost in this way, every second of every day. Your business must be a contender, and to be successful here, there are a number of elements to consider. Obviously you need to appear on the search result to even be a contender (To learn more about this read our earlier blog on 5 Tips for Better Google SERPs ) Today we are going to address two important elements once a potential customer has landed on your website.


Appeal is obviously vague, but intentionally so. You have to consider several things specific to your market, in order to understand how to make your product appealing. And no longer simply good, but it must be better than the rest. This seems obvious, but many businesses today still don't spend enough time analyzing their competition. (read our blog on Why You Should Google Yourself.) So appeal becomes a two-pronged attack: understanding your audience and being aware of your market. You need to be sure that your style, message and attitude are going to attract your customer base. This means across all platforms of website, social media, print and online history. Any signs of wavering or change or even a past review could cause a sense of mistrust that will prevent the potential customer from following through to conversion. Once you have assessed yourself against these markers, you want to then compare yourself to the other businesses vying for the customer's attention. Spotting how you differ can help you defend against weakness but also amplify where you excel.

This process is essential for every business. But there are elevated levels of marketing for those who swim in a saturated pool of contenders and need to stand out to survive; that is, creating campaigns, gimmicks or promotions. These are generally a slightly more provocative and/or creative endeavor. They often seem a little more risky as you are more "out of the box." However in a market place that becomes thicker with competition, this is how you can really set yourself apart. There are numerous examples of campaigns that have been extremely successful and those that have not been. Most often these things fail or succeed based on them maintaining one key component; trust.


Every truly successful business maintains a core following of loyal customers. These are your advocates. Your advocates are your most important audience as they do two wonderful things: spread your message and create trust, (and mostly for free) Today we often assess this group online and feed them and empower them there. But this essential group of followers is not new to business success. Any business owner that you speak to who has been around for 5+ years and still has no real marketing efforts in place is working from "word of mouth.", This referral technique has been keeping great businesses alive for centuries. It is the true sign of a good company. However, that ability to allow our customers to share with their circle is a changing platform. Communication itself has shifted from person to person, to social network to social network. Or even simply email and text. We need to just give our advocates the simple tools they need to share your spectacular company in these arenas. We also need to make it easy for all our customers to give their reviews in the form of testimonials., Depending on your business type these can appear on review sites such as yelp, Google+, Angie's list, Better Business Bureau, the list goes on. You should also have these positive reviews on your website and they should be placed specifically around conversions and calls to action.

We wanted to do that would be able to do both of these things at once. Something that would help us standout, entertain and instill trust. We decided to test this out with the rebirth of our old company character, Immortal Lloyd. We decided to bring Lloyd back from the future to read some real reviews and testimonials from our clients. We wanted to present these in a new way and so we made short video testimonials, read by Lloyd, in his usual wacky style., Now we know that a comical persona like this does not work in all arenas, but it is a simple and effective way of entertaining and instilling trust, at the same time. We think many companies could benefit from these types of videos. We could create your own character; we could keep it straight or even give a voice to the real customers. There are a number of options and this is just one idea in the effort to engage your audience. Watch our most recent post from Lloyd:


If you are interested in creating video testimonials for your company or exploring different ideas to help you stand out from the crowd email us: or call us: 877 397-7605

Posted on 08/14/2014 9:51 AM by Mark McGowan
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
History of the Internet - Infographic

111 Web Studio began life as Internet Consulting Group (later ICG Link, Inc.),in February of 1995. We registered our first domain name in May just four months after a domain name called came on the scene. I had a 486 Gateway laptop with that amazing Windows 3.1 and a screaming fast 14,400 bps modem. I was running all the high tech Internet programs of the day like "Mosaic," "Eudora," "Usenet," "Fetch," "Gopher," "Netfind," "Archie" and "Finger". There were no smartphones, so I carried Casio Boss PDA and a beeper on my belt. People could send me their phone number and I'd call them back on a land line. When I made cold calls, my opening pitch line was, "Hi Bob. My name is Jack with ICG Link. Have you heard of the Internet?" By the end of 1995, things were really popping and there were some 16 million people online (compared to three billion today).

The most surprising thing about all this ancient history is that it was less than 20 years ago. As everyone knows, a whole lot has changed since then. Today, we can hardly imagine life without the Internet and all the rest of our associated digital extensions.

Well, all this reflection got me thinking it might be nice to take a look at a timeline of the Internet from its beginnings to present day. I guess you could pin the real start when President Eisenhower established the Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1958. But I chose to kick things off a decade later when ARPAnet was born using an advanced technology called packet switching because that's when things really began to heat up.

In 1969 ARPANET had four nodes connecting universities in California and Utah. In 1973, the first international node connected to Norway and from there jumped to London, and by 1982 there were a hundred nodes connected. By 1990, ARPANET's packet switching was abandoned in favor of the Internet's superior TCP/IP protocol which had already been running for seven years. At about that same time, Tim Berners-Lee put together a handful of existing technology to whip up the World Wide Web and everything changed. I hope you enjoy the following infographic. Comments are welcome.

If you have any questions about this, web design, web hosting, on-line programming, SEO, cloud computing or any other related subject, give us a call at 877 397-7605 or contact us for more information.


Posted on 08/12/2014 10:08 AM by Jack Massari
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
The Proof is in the Statistics

It's often difficult to communicate to business owners what good Digital Marketing can do for you. We certainly believe in the service and do what we can to ensure we bring a great result to our clients. There are many different elements needed for a good online presence. There are social media profiles to maintain, most commonly you should be on Twiiter, Facebook and Google +. You are also likely to need to be using Linkedin to work your specific business networks. Then there is the website itself, in order to really make the search engines take notice and improve your SERP's (search engine result page) you should be updating the content on your web pages. The most common and most effective way to do this is with a blog. The two graphs you see below are clients we started working for in January and February respectively, both actively use their blog. The client on the bottom also uses email campaigns and that was the cause of the spike in April. A successful email campaign can really drive traffic to your website. You can also drive up interest by having a news page, updating website pages and their content, or adding new pages. Your page content should be keyword heavy, lots of links both to outside websites and to internal pages and be simple to read. Make sure you have calls to action on every page and be intentional about how or why these are placed. These are all tactics that can improve your website traffic and the user experience once they arrive. Of course the final piece of the puzzle is conversions and that is also achieved with well executed content and design.

We wanted to share these statistic results of two of our clients, to show visually the results of well executed digital marketing on your web traffic. The first graph we began working with in January and the second in February.  We have implemented all of the above in our efforts to achieve this, but the results are unquestionable. If you have any questions about how you can get your website traffic to improve or how to improve your SERP's and make Google take notice of you, we will be glad to help.

Call Us at: 877 397-7605 or Email Us:

Posted on 08/06/2014 10:20 AM by Mark McGowan
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Russians Grab Half a Billion Usernames and Passwords

The New York Times reports today that 1.2 billion usernames and passwords were grabbed by Russian hackers using a botnet that exploited SQL injections to gain access to the data. Check out the article here. In truth, some of those were duplicates, so it's more like half a billion, but hey... what's half a billion between friends?

In this day and age, the Internet has become a vast playground for hackers who stand to gain financially or perhaps just gain notoriety. Their victims are you and me because we don't think like them. We like to think our neighbors are good folks who care about us just like we care about them. Sure we have finally gotten to where we lock our windows and doors, but not everyone has an alarm system these days. And why would we? Here in the good ole USA, life is pretty good. But on the Internet, our neighbors are in Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia and a thousand other places right next door that don't have the lifestyle we have. 

So you absolutely must be wary, on your toes and technically competent. And if you're not particularly technically competent, you need to rely on those who are. What was best-practice two years ago could today be risky or even disasterous for you and your bank account. The horror stories abound. Thousands of dollars are stolen from regular folks, small businesses and big companies every day. 

So what should you do? Start by beefing up your passwords. Make sure you mix capital letters, small letters, numbers and make them nice and long. A good thing to do is come up with a phrase you know and take off on that. For example, a star wars fan might think of, "Use the Force Luke" so a password could be UtfL%77Vdad since the film was released in 1977 and the V stands for Vader who turned out to be Luke's Dad... pretty obscure, but you get the idea. 

Next, you should have at least three passwords, maybe more - one for really secure things like your bank, one for pretty secure things like places where you enter credit cards and a third for not so secure things that aren't all that important. By the way, your email box is pretty darn important since if it's hacked, it can be monitored to access other things that are more important. Finally, you need to be prepared to change those passwords if they are compromised, which can easily happen. Nearly every major retailer has been compromised lately and when that happens, it's time to bite the bullet and change up your credentials. 

Where web sites are concerned, you need to consult with your technical experts. Be sure your platforms are up to date with the latest updates and keep checking for new ones. If you have a custom site, ask for a regular security review to be sure that what were best practices haven't become vulnerable to the latest exploits. The web is a constantly changing landscape and you need to stay on top of it.

If you have any questions about his or other on-line issues, give us a call at 877 397-7605 or contact us for more information... and stay safe out there!!

Posted on 08/05/2014 7:11 PM by Customer Service

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