Keeping WordPress Secure

A new year gives you a great start to take the best measures to boost up your security. Even WordPress pros can often forget that staying on top of the simple things can lead you to a successful and safe site. Here are a few tips to keep you and your WordPress in the right direction, secured and away from being vulnerable from any sort of attack.

 

Change your password (often) and don’t use common usernames.

It is highly important to always make sure your password is being changed often and that it is fitted for security. Random strings of numbers and letters are the best way to keep your password safe from hackers. You can even use password generators such as Norton Password Generator to give you a top-notch one.

Shy away from using ‘admin’ or anything simple when creating your username for WordPress. If that’s the case, you may change it by adding /wp-login.php or /wp-admin/ at the end of your domain name.

Another great way to keep your security measure boosted is through two-step authentication. Two-step authentication (2FA) means a password is required along with an authorization code that is sent to either your phone or email, in order to get through the site. Owners decide what those two can be, whether a regular password followed with a secret question, a code or set of specific characters.

 

SSL to encrypt data

SSL, Secure Socket Layer, ensures security to data transfer between user browsers and the server, which makes it difficult for hackers to breach the connection or access your information.

For WordPress, you are able to purchase one from dedicated companies or ask your hosting firm to provide you one, often found in their hosting packages.

A bonus to using SSL, is Google ranks sites with SSL higher than those who don’t have it. In other words, more traffic for your website.

 

Securing themes and plugins

WordPress is updated frequently. Updates that are made for the purpose of fixing bugs, as well as updating vital security patches. In doing so, can cause some serious harm that you want to avoid at all cost.

In other words, update plugins, themes, everything. Regularly.

However, if you do want to use the built-in plugin and theme editor in the dashboard, you’re better off disabling it. Authorized users are given access to this editor, and, if by any chance the account is hacked, the same editor can be used to take down the entire site just by modifying the code.

5 Ways to Improve Your Website this New Year

A new year brings new resolutions, new improvements and new opportunities for growth. We’re sure you have a list of your own personal resolutions lined up and today, we are here to help you achieve your website resolutions and improvements for your companies sites. Follow along to learn about 5 different ways to improve your website and gain more viewers.

 

  1. Be obvious about website navigation.

Website navigations helps visitors find what they are looking for first, and increase search engine ranking second. Therefore, use keywords that would be obvious for your visitors; this may mean no internal lingo. Remember that the less clicks visitors have to go through to find what they are looking for, the better.  

 

  1. Add a CTA throughout your website.

After providing your visitors with all the information they are looking for, give them a sense of direction so they know what they can do next with the information provided. Remember that each call to action (CTA) should begin with a verb and should be set apart from the rest of information. For example, a yellow button that says “Add to Cart.”

 

  1. Add internal links throughout your website.

Internal links are not only great for SEO but they are also great for keeping your visitors browsing through your website for a longer time. Internal links can be used to direct visitors to pages with further, more detailed, information about a particular service or product mentioned in a different page.

 

  1. Avoid using carousels.

Statistics show that internet users don’t even get to the fifth slide in a carousel. If you insist on having one in your website, minimize the amount of slides to three. Otherwise, use alternative to carousels such as changing your layout to a Hero layout, highlighting your major services or products on the homepage and direct them to its page, or providing a video that highlights top services or products.

 

  1. Lose the testimonial page.

The truth is that visitors don’t go to your website looking for such page. The best way to highlight positive reviews about your company is by incorporating quotes or highlights throughout your website in different pages, such as the product page, about page, contact page, etc.

 

How to Promote Content

What would be the point of creating content if it is not going to be shared or viewed by others? Getting your content viewed by others is more important than creating content in general. Because of this, we have composed a list of tips to help promote your content in the best ways possible.

Share on social platforms:

This is one of the more obvious tips. Whenever you create content, you should always start by self promoting it on your social media, as well as on your website. Remember that each social platform requires a different form of content sharing, so make sure you are adjusting the way you promote it according to the social media.

Share snippets on social media:

Take several “snippets” of information from your content to share online in order to catch the audience’s attention and promote your content several times throughout the month. These snippets can be quotes, statistics, short statements, etc.

Mention those included in your content:

If you have important companies or personas mentioned in your content, like in a blog post, make sure to tag or mention their social media accounts when promoting. This will help get your content viewed by outsiders who may not have heard of your business before, especially if those who are being mentioned repost or share the content as well.

Get connected:

Connect with other who post similar content as you through email or on their social media. Share what you have created with them and ask them for their thoughts and if they wouldn’t mind sharing your content on their platform.

Share in different forms:

Try making your content more appealing by converting it into a different media form. Short videos and infographics are a great way to share content while keeping it interesting and entertaining. Switching up your content is always a great way to keep your audience engaged.

 

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 2)

This blog post is a continuation of the marketing mistakes 2 part series where we review the many popular marketing mistakes we are all guilty of doing at some point in our business. Here are some mistakes to watch out for and avoid:

Using the Wrong Platforms:

It can be difficult, at first, to decide on the appropriate platforms for promotions or simply to share important content. The best way to decide on a platform is to find out where your target audience spends most of their time and find out what are the best ways to contact them. Try sharing content on every platform available and keeping an eye on the analytics of each one to see which results in a high response rate. This will help you weed out the channels that are of no use to you.

Spending a lot Too Fast:

Chances are that, if you are spending too much too fast, you are not giving you and your company enough time to test out different platforms and strategies and are, instead, doing a lot at a time. It’s important to test out different strategies to see what works best and what doesn’t before spending all of your money.

Not Measuring Results:

Measuring your results is a crucial part of developing a successful marketing strategy. This is the only way to track whether your strategy is giving you the best results and tells you whether you should keep spending money on it or move on to something different.

Not Expanding your Network:

Networking is one of the many important components of marketing successfully. A large network means more promotions for your work. Word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire and are a trusted way of getting your business “out there” and gaining more clients.

Following in Competitors Footsteps:

Think about it; when you see competitors sharing similar marketing efforts it can be boring and eventually confusing as to which brand did what. Avoid replicating your competitor’s marketing strategies. What may work for them, may not work for your business. In addition, many times their marketing efforts may only look like they are working when, in reality, it could be a failing technique.

For help in avoiding such marketing mistakes, contact Sperling Interactive!

Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (Pt. 1)

 

We have all been there before, where we come up with a great new marketing plan but end up having a hard time getting a strong response rate. Chances are that we are committing one, or multiple, of the following common marketing mistakes:

Weak Written Material:

Having strong writing skills is a crucial part in communicating with your target audience. In order to fully get through to your customers and motivate them to take action, you must first move them with your words. This can only be done through strong written content. The content should interest your readers.

Forgetting about SEO:

SEO is important in marketing for company visibility. When creating any marketing materials, do not forget to incorporate important industry keywords, tags and Meta descriptions to help your business rank high on search.

Repeating others Content:

Every now and then we all get stuck or seem to run out of new ideas and look to others for inspiration. However, while doing this, we end up repeating content every now and then. Doing this can make it difficult for your target audience to remember you. Write in your own point of view and incorporate your own experiences and inspirations into your work.

Not Self-Promoting:

Whenever you think about self-promotion, you probably think about something along arrogance, but it does not have to be this way. The truth of the matter is that if you’re not promoting your content, how will your audience know what your company has been up to? Promote your business’ greatest achievements and invite others to the celebration!

No Call to Action:

Not having a call to action is a big mistake. All your messages and marketing materials should end with a call to action. Connect your marketing materials to your brand and finish off with an instruction on what to do next and how to do it.

Learning from our mistakes is important. If you need help developing a marketing plan that works, contact Sperling Interactive for help!

Tagline vs. Positioning Statement

When you think “tagline” what comes to mind? What about when you hear “positioning statement”? Do you know the difference between the two? If you don’t quite know what the difference between a tagline and positioning statement is, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people tend to get the two confused all the time. Today, we will clear up some of the difference between the two and their soul purpose. Follow along to get a better understanding.

Taglines:

Chances are that when you think “positioning statement” you may actually be thinking about the tagline. A tagline is made to express the value of a product or service to help improve the appearance and position of a brand. Its duty is to help portray what the company does and who they are.

When creating a tagline, you want to make sure that you can answer the following questions:

  • What do we do for our customers?
  • How do we better our customers’ lives?
  • What is our unique selling proposition?

Once you are able to answer these questions, it’s time to put it all together into a clever statement. A tagline should be clever and witty, so don’t be afraid to use a play on words. It should definitely convey your company’s personality, as well. How else will you make your business memorable?

Positioning Statement:

A positioning statement is much more complicated than a tagline. It requires more information in just as a memorable way as a tagline. The components of such statement are:

  • Target audience
  • The solutions it offers
  • Comparison to competitors
  • Unique selling proposition (USP)

Here is a template to help get you started:

“[Brand’s name] is for [target audience] looking to [explain the services] unlike others [related industry]. [Explain why your business is unique in, at least, 3 points].”

Are you having trouble coming figuring out how to position your brand? Contact Sperling Interactive for a consultation.

How to Create Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning is the most important way to get your business and products out there. In order to maintain a great business running, the business’ brand needs to be recognized and remembered in a positive light. The goal in brand positioning is to create an image about your brand in consumers’ minds so that they can remember your products in a specific way. Because this is so important for your company, we have put together some guidelines to help you create an appropriate brand positioning.

Before you create a plan for your brand positioning, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

         How is your brand currently positioned?

         Who are your competitors?

         How are competitors positioning themselves?

Once you have found the answers to these questions, you would be able to have a better sense of which direction you would like to take your business -competing alongside your competitors, or divert from them completely.

If you want to differentiate your brand from that of competitors, the best way to do so is by focusing your brand position on the features your company has to offer that competitors don’t. If you and your competitors offer very similar services/products, you can focus advertisements on those features that competitors are not expressing in their advertisement. Many times, businesses tend to overlook some of their services without realizing how those services can be of priority to prospective consumers. Pay attention to what competitors are saying about their businesses to help determine the direction you want to take.

If you are interested in competing alongside competitors, determine what makes your service better than theirs and have your brand positioning revolve around that.

Ways to Get your Content Shared

Posting informational and helpful materials on your social platforms means nothing unless people are reading and sharing that content with others. In order for the content to be deemed as valuable it needs to be viewed, but with so much being shared on social media, it’s easy to have materials go unnoticed and get buried under other status updates and video sharing. Because of this, we have developed a set of tips to help create value to your content. Read along to learn how you can get your content shared.

Some basic points to keep in mind are headlines, the type of social network the content is being posted in and the purpose of the content.

Headline:

Build a strong and interesting headline for your content. The title should give an idea of what your content is about and create interest in what you are sharing with others. Play around with different headlines to see which one sounds best.

Type of Social Media:

Each social network is different and should be treated as so. Just because some content did well in one platform, doesn’t mean it will do well in all platforms, at least not if it’s presented in the same way. Tailor your content to the social media you plan to share it on. For example, Twitter expects short and to the point information, unlike Facebook where more details are shared.

Content’s Purpose:

What is the purpose of your content? Are you trying to inform others on a certain subject? Are you trying to entertain your audience? Whatever it may be that you are sharing, make sure you are not sharing the same kind of content consistently. You don’t want to bore your followers. Remember that you want to be interesting to your followers in order to get your content shared.

Aside from content-specific tips, here are some other alternatives to also incorporate to help get your content shared:

Ask Influencers and Employees to Share:

Build a relationship with other social influencers and ask them to feature your content. If you build a strong enough relationship, you may not have to even ask. Doing this, as well as asking employees to share the content, can help get your content shared by others while also increasing your company’s visibility.

Happy Posting!

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce

 

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most effective business-to-business network in Merrimack including Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover, Greater Haverhill, Greater Lowell, and Southern New Hampshire. There are currently over 1,000 chamber company members benefiting from their many programs, services and events, including us! We have been members of this network for 3 years.  There are 100+ events hosted by the MV Chamber of Commerce each year. In the past there over 7,500 people have attended at least one of these events.

If you have thought about becoming a member of the organization but haven’t yet, here are the many reasons why you should join:

  •      They provide group rated health & dental insurance opportunities.
  •      They connect businesses and government affairs together through their business government affairs program, annual breakfast events, and more.
  •      They hold networking events to such as the Business Networking Mixer, Women in Business events, and their Annual Holiday Party, among many other events, to help promote businesses.
  •      They help small business start-ups with Free Business Counseling, Assistance to Start Up, Assistance to Women in Business, The Next Generation Leaders Program for young business men and women, and more.
  •      They provide members with mailing and promotional publications, like their “Membership Matters” quarterly newsletter, among others.
  •      They host family and sporting events exclusive to MV Chamber members, and more.

These are only a few of many membership benefits and events held by the MV Chamber. To find out more about their benefits click here http://www.merrimackvalleychamber.com/Membership_Benefits/). If you are interested in becoming a member, click here.

Industry Specific Social Site: AVVO

Are you an attorney trying to get your services out to the public, or are you a citizen looking for an attorney to help service your legal needs but don’t know who to reach out to? Avvo may be the solution to your legal needs! It is a legal service website where attorneys can offer a specific service with a fixed price and users can search and review lawyers the specific services they offer and pay the full price right on the website.

As a user, you are able to find the best attorney for you by clicking on the service gallery that matches the service you are looking for. There are multiple legal services offered on Avvo, some including:

– 15-30 minutes legal advising sessions

– Reviewing of legal documents, including immigration application

– Applying for US citizenship

– Create residential leases

– Filing for divorce

As an attorney, here is how it works for you:

Lawyers must select at least one service they would like to offer along with the fixed fee for each service. After being selected for your service, you must pay a per-service marketing fee for each completed and paid service. All attorney participation in the Avvo website are governed by Avvo’s Legal Services Term.

When a user searches for a specific service, they are required to click on their geographic location. This way, only local attorneys show up. Each client is local to the lawyer’s area. Unfortunately, attorneys are not available in all states. Here is a list of states where services are available:

      Arizona

      California

      Colorado

      Florida

      Georgia

      Illinois

      Massachusetts

      Maryland

      Michigan

      Minnesota

      Missouri

      Nevada

      New Hampshire

      North Carolina

      New Jersey

      New York

      Ohio

      Oregon

      Pennsylvania

      South Carolina

      Texas

      Utah

      Virginia

      Washington

      Wisconsin

If you are an attorney interested in joining Avvo, click here to visit their website.