Blog2020-11-28T11:37:18-05:00

Do you host your website with GoDaddy?

1.2 Million customers are getting from GoDaddy about their data breach. If you use GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting, you received this email. While they are busy handling some of the behind the scenes technical issues and resetting their users passwords and the other security elements that were obtained, I’d highly recommend if you use their services change all admin passwords on your site and your GoDaddy account credentials.

I know this can be a pain. But it’s better to keep your site safe.

November 23rd, 2021|

Why not to use GoDaddy for Hosting Your Site

GoDaddy announced this morning that they have been breached. Our team took a deep dive into the breach and found that GoDaddy appears to have stored passwords in plaintext, or in a format that could be reversed back into plaintext, which is not an industry best practice.

We confirmed this by signing into a GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Account and verifying that we were able to view our own sFTP password. That means the attacker didn’t need to crack the passwords and could likely retrieve them directly.

According to GoDaddy’s own SEC filing: “For active customers, sFTP and database usernames and passwords were exposed.”

The attacker had access to GoDaddy’s systems for over two months before they were discovered.

November 22nd, 2021|

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is more than a website.

We are located in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. We are a digital agency that helps regional and local businesses be more successful online with custom website design, marketing campaigns, branding, content, and SEO services.

Creating a connection between you and your current and future customers.

Digital marketing gets you visible online. Keeping you ahead of your competition and in front of your target audience.

We are personal. Creating your custom digital marketing plan based on a deep understanding of your company, customer, and business goals.

August 22nd, 2021|

Report: iCloud+ Private Relay could spell the end of iOS ad fingerprinting

What you need to know

Apple will ship iCloud+ Private Relay alongside iOS 15 this fall.

A new report considers the privacy feature to be the “beginning of the end” for iOS device fingerprinting.

But it isn’t perfect

Apple’s iOS 15 release, due to arrive this fall, will see the arrival of iCloud+ and its new Private Relay feature. It’ll obfuscate a user’s IP address to help prevent them from being tracked across the internet and, according to one report, it could spell the end for iOS device fingerprinting.

According to DigiDay, some ad execs believe that Apple isn’t enforcing its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules as harshly as it could — but that Private Relay could be the ace in the hole.

Private Relay will re-route an iPhone, iPad, and Mac’s data through an Apple server and then out via another one that’s owned by a trusted third party. Nobody knows who that third party is, and it’s the use of separate ingress and egress servers that ensures a user’s privacy — web services will have no idea what their actual IP address is. And neither will the trusted third party, either. It’s here where it’s thought Apple’s anti-fingerprinting goal will really kick in.

Private Relay renders a person’s IP address useless for fingerprinting because it redirects web traffic through two separate servers. Granted, an IP address is just one of many aspects that make a fingerprint of someone’s behavior on a device — but it’s an important one.

What’s more, DigiDay believes that Private Relay is just the start, with more Apple-led privacy moves to come that could yet further hinder device — and user — identification across the internet. But it isn’t perfect.

There are other loopholes in Private Relay that could be exploited. For instance, Private Relay restricts traffic apps send over an insecure web connection (HTTP). So apps that use an IP address for fingerprinting could theoretically work around this by using a secure web connection or some other transport protocol. This may lead to a “cat and mouse game” between Apple, ad tech vendors with fingerprinting solutions, and the apps integrating them, said Aaron McKee, chief technology officer at mobile ad tech vendor Blis.

It’s that cat and mouse game that Apple has signed itself up for and, so far at least, it seems to be up for the fight. Who will win, nobody knows — but I know where my money’s going. Privacy is one of the best iPhone features around and that’s why Apple promotes it so heavily. It has the bit between its teeth and won’t be letting go of it any time soon.

July 8th, 2021|

Search Your Domain

If you’d like to see all the pages that Google search has indexed for your site, go to google.com and in the search field enter site:yourdomain.com For example site:apple.com

June 19th, 2021|

SEO Basics

If you are blogging regularly then you will want people to find your content and the best way of getting reads is via Google searches. A lot of people see SEO or Search Engine Optimization as a dark art and it really isn’t. Once you get a few basic techniques down your content will start to show on Google.

These tips are very basic and getting these right is only 1 very small part of search engine optimization.

Titles
The title is the most important thing on your page. Get it right as this is also what shows on Google’s search listing for your page. It also decides the main search terms you will show up for on Google.

So, what makes a good title? Apart from featuring your indenting search terms and describing what your article is about it should also meet a few other criteria:

  • Titles should not be longer than 60 characters
  • Titles should be the only H1 tag on the page
  • Titles should not contain links to other pages

Get these 3 things right and you are on the right track but titles are not everything.

Meta Descriptions
Staying with what shows on your Google search result listing, your meta description is another key element of your page. This is not visible on your site but rather sits within the code and is read by Google and other search engines.

This short snippet of text should describe your post, feature the key phrase you are hoping to show up for and entice the user to click on your listing to find out more.

A meta description should be between 50 and 160 characters. Anything longer than 160 characters will be clipped short on the Google search results page.

Image Alt Tags
Another piece of code that affects your ranking chances and is also mostly hidden like meta tags are the alt tags associated with your images. These are used for a number of things and perhaps most importantly are used by screen readers to help the visually impaired browse your site.

An image alt tag should feature your key phrase but not only your key phrase. You should also describe the image for the visually impaired. The is no limit to the text in an alt tag but don’t go mad, keep the description here to under 10 words.

Content
You must have heard the saying “content is king” and as much as I hate this saying as content is not always a good thing when it comes to SEO the saying is mostly true. Google loves good content, with good being the keyword here.

Bad content will mark you down in Google’s eyes and everything you write on your site adds to the bigger picture of who are you and do you add value to users. You need to write good, valuable content that people want to read. Each post should have at least 350 words and generally the longer the article the better.

Longer articles are better but don’t waffle, repeat yourself or use 10 words when 2 will do. These are all bad writing habits and exactly why I don’t tell clients they have to hit a word count on every page. If you can’t write 1,000 words on a topic that is not a problem – just write at least 350 words in a high-quality article.

Links

There are 3 types of links, 2 you control and should get right every time and 1 you don’t control but perhaps can influence.
Internal Links
Let’s start with internet links as you have complete control over these. Internal links are the links in your content to other relevant pieces of content you have written within your website. When you read an article on my site and I have mentioned something I have previous written about I always include a link back to the original article.

This kind of internal linking helps Google work out the relationship between your pages and builds a better picture of the structure of your website.

Outbound Links
You should always link to your sources when quoting reference material. It is also a good idea to link out to external references that back up your ideas and writing. Google will see these links and build relationships leading to a better understanding of your content and ultimately the better Google understands you the higher you will show in search results.

Back Links
The final type of link is a backlink and this is somewhat beyond your control. A backlink is a link to your article from another website. These will come naturally in time as you build an audience and build awareness of your website. As you write more good quality content the more chance you have of getting someone to link back to you.
There is another way to get backlinks and this is what most professional SEO’s charge the big money for – link outreach. Link outreach is not as complex as it sounds, it is the practice of contacting other website owners that have similar fo supporting content as yours and asking them to link a few words in their article to your article on a similar subject matter.

Frequency
Finally, the last part of SEO that most people overlook is the frequency of your new content. Google loves content and will keep coming back to read your latest posts. The more often you post the more often Google will review your website.

If only it was that simple. You have to keep up your posting schedule so don’t start posting new content every day as you will not be able to keep this up long term. Start with once a week for a new site and see how you get on. I post every 2 – 3 days because the experience of running several websites tells me this is something I can comfortably do.

To help with consistency look if your content management system allows for you to schedule posts in the future. I use Ghost which has this feature and I can spend a Saturday afternoon writing 3 – 4 posts in one go and have them steadily released over the next week or 2. This takes the pressure off having to write something new and high quality every other day and allows my site to almost run on autopilot while I am busy in the day job.

These are just the basics of SEO and the subject goes a lot deeper when you start looking at mobile-first indexing, usability and schema markup. These advanced topics are something you probably don’t need to be too concerned with for your blog but are important if you want the number 1 spot for a key phrase like “best web designer”

June 19th, 2021|