Persuasion Advertising 101
To fully understand what persuasion is, it helps to begin with what it is not.
Telling your son or daughter to turn off the TV, iPad or Video game and they generally follow direction and do their homework as asked. Is that really persuasion?
Not really. They still believe they should be able to watch or play as much as they like. Yes, you have influenced their actions — but it stemmed from parental authority, not the parents ability to change their beliefs. Read More
When you spend months or years on a website, not to mention thousands of dollars, it’s hard to step back and look at it objectively. Can you look at it through the eyes of your users? Can you look at it the way Google does?
If you can look at your website the way Google does, you’ll probably discover areas in which your website needs work. I can teach you how you can see your website from Google’s perspective, and how you can t…hen target the areas that need improvement.
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CELL(360)269-2226 or OFFICE (360)353-3799
LEARN what GOOGLE thinks about your website!!
Why Use an Advertising Agency?
Creating an effective advertising campaign takes a great deal of time and effort. Most businesses do not have the creative talent and expertise to handle advertising campaigns in-house. Additionally, advertising agencies provide an outside prospective on the product being promoted, bringing with them objectivity that can’t be found in an in-house marketing department. Many publications offer “free” design services, but they generally lack the strategic planning that a comprehensive advertising campaign requires. An ad created by one publication cannot usually be used in a competing publication.
At MY AGENCY we spend time researching the best approach to advertising and can create themed campaigns that help enhance a company’s or product’s brand image. Good advertising agencies can carry those campaigns across several mediums, so that a company can present a constant image, whether advertising is place on billboards, in newspapers, magazines, the internet or on television and radio. There are also many services that MY Agency provides that publications cannot. We handle projects such as design of everything from business cards to marketing brochures that make sure your company looks its best. Time saving services, such as handling printing of brochures, overseeing photo shoots, and negotiating all media buys.
We know from experience that having your site hacked is not fun. That’s why, here at MY Agency, we take security very seriously. We work hard for our clients to provide the most secure, and reliable solution if you choose a WordPress based platform for developing your brand site on.
In line with our serious approach to security, our products are carefully optimized to be as secure as possible. There are, however, still a handful of potential security risks, when running a website, that we have no control over. You, the website owner, need to pay attention to these potential security risks, in order to keep your website safe.
With that in mind, here are 10 things you can do to improve your WordPress security.
1. Use secure hosting
Not all web hosting providers are created equal and, in fact, hosting vulnerabilities account for a huge percentage of WordPress sites being hacked.
When choosing a web hosting provider, don’t simply go for the cheapest you can find. Do your research, and make sure you use a well-established company with a good track-record for strong security measures.
It’s always worth paying a bit extra for the peace of mind you get from knowing your site is in safe hands.
2. Update all the things
Every new release of WordPress contains patches and fixes that address real or potential vulnerabilities. If you don’t keep your website updated with the latest version of WordPress, you could be leaving yourself open to attacks.
Many hackers will intentionally target older versions of WordPress with known security issues, so keep an eye on your Dashboard notification area and don’t ignore those ‘Please update now’ messages.
The same applies to themes and plugins. Make sure you update to the latest versions as they are released. If you keep everything up-to-date your site is much less likely to get hacked.
3. Strengthen up those passwords
According to this infographic, around 8% of hacked WordPress websites are down to weak passwords.
If your WordPress administrator password is anything like ‘letmein’, ‘abc123’, or ‘password’ (all way more common than you might think!), you need to change it to something secure as soon as possible.
For a password that’s easy to remember but very hard to crack, I recommend coming up with a good password recipe.
If you’re feeling lazy, you can also use a password manager like LastPass to remember all your passwords for you. If you use this method, make sure your master password is nice and strong.
4. Never use “admin” as your username
Earlier this year, there was a spate of brute-force attacks launched at WordPress websites across the web, consisting of repeated login attempts using the username ‘admin’, combined with a bunch of common passwords.
If you use “admin” as your username, and your password isn’t strong enough (see #3), then your site is very vulnerable to a malicious attack. It’s strongly recommended that you change your username to something less obvious.
Until version 3.0, installing WordPress automatically created a user with “admin” as the username. This was updated in version 3.0 so you can now choose your own username. Many people still use “admin” as it’s become the standard, and it’s easy to remember. Some web hosts also use auto-install scripts that still set up an ‘admin’ username by default.
Fixing this is simply a case of creating a new administrator account for yourself using a different username, logging in as that new user and deleting the original “admin” account.
If you have posts published by the “admin” account, when you delete it, you can assign all the existing posts to your new user account.
5. Hide your username from the author archive URL
Another way an attacker can potentially gain access to your username is via the author archive pages on your site.
By default WordPress displays your username in the URL of your author archive page. e.g. if your username is joebloggs, your author archive page would be something likehttp://yoursite.com/author/joebloggs
This is less than ideal, for the same reasons explained above for the “admin” username, so it’s a good idea to hide this by changing the user_nicename entry in your database, as described here.
6. Limit login attempts
In the case of a hacker or a bot attempting a brute-force attack to crack your password, it can be useful to limit the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address.
Limit Login Attempts does just that, allowing you to specify how many retries will be allowed, and how long an IP will be locked out for after too many failed login attempts.
There are ways around this, as some attackers will use a large number of different IP addresses, but it’s still worth doing as an additional precaution.
7. Disable file editing via the dashboard
In a default WordPress installation, you can navigate to Appearance > Editor and edit any of your theme files right in the dashboard.
The trouble is, if a hacker managed to gain access to your admin panel, they could also edit your files that way, and execute whatever code they wanted to.
So it’s a good idea to disable this method of file editing, by adding the following to yourwp-config.php file:
define( ‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true );
8. Try to avoid free themes
We’re confident in the quality and security of our free themes. As a general rule though, it’s better to avoid using free themes, if possible, especially if they aren’t built by a reputable developer.
The main reason for this is that free themes can often contain things like base64 encoding, which may be used to sneakily insert spam links into your site, or other malicious code that can cause all sorts of problems, as shown in this experiment, where 8 out of 10 sites reviewed offered free themes containing base64 code.
If you really need to use a free theme, you should only use those developed by trusted theme companies, or those available on the official WordPress.org theme repository.
Note: The same logic applies to plugins. Only use plugins that are listed on WordPress.org, or built by a well-established developer.
9. Keep a backup
I can’t overemphasize the importance of making regular backups of your website. This is something that many people put off until it’s too late.
Even with the best security measures at your disposal, you never know when something unexpected could happen that might leave your site open to an attack.
If that happens you want to make sure all of your content is safely backed up, so that you can easily restore your site to its former glory.
The WordPress Codex tells you exactly how to backup your site, and if that seems like too much hard work, you can use a plugin such as WordPress Backup to Dropbox to schedule regular automatic backups.
10. Use security plugins
As well as all of the measures above, there are tons of plugins you can use to tighten your site’s security and reduce the likelihood of being hacked.
Here are a handful of popular options:
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/better-wp-security/ – offers a wide range of security features.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/bulletproof-security/ – protects your site via .htaccess.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-wp-security-and-firewall/ – adds a firewall to your site.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/sucuri-scanner/ – scans your site for malware etc.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/ – full-featured security plugin.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/websitedefender-wordpress-security/ – comprehensive security tool.
- http://wordpress.org/plugins/exploit-scanner/ – searches your database for any suspicious code.
To learn more about hardening your website’s security, please check out these two resources:
We also recommend Sucuri.net if you are unsure about this topic. Sucuri can help monitor your site, alert you of suspicious activity and even help clean up your site in the case of a malware attack.
This may all sound pretty intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner. I’d like to point out that it’s not intended to scare anyone, it’s just important to discuss the topic of security regularly, as we want to make sure you stay one step ahead of the hackers!
You don’t have to do everything on this list (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt). Even if you just remove the ‘admin’ username and start using stronger passwords, your site will be that little bit safer.
Adobe is finally ready to say goodbye to Flash. In an announcement last night, Adobe said that it will now “encourage content creators to build with new web standards,” such as HTML5, rather than Flash. It’s also beginning to deprecate the Flash name by renaming its animation app to Animate CC, away from Flash Professional CC.
Did you know that the majority of us learn best with the use of pictures, color association and observation? The importance of great product photography may make or break your website demand and especially your ecommerce sales. The more appealing and clear your products look, the more you will sell. This is really the case not just for products, but for any photographs featured on your website. The better they look the more traffic you will drive in. Pictured above is a product shot by MY Agency a few years back.
Drones have gone from being the stuff of science fiction to the latest must-have toy and, in the near-future, they could be taking care of business. Already vital to industries such as agriculture, defense and weather monitoring, commercial drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft (UAS), have the potential to change the way we work. Read More
Strategic Advertising Planning
As owners/partners of multiple businesses (one of them being an advertising agency), we are often asked which kind of advertising is most effective. Our immediate response is: “What is your advertising strategy?” About that time, our clients’ eyes glaze over in confusion, and the obvious answer arises: “MORE BUSINESS!” We agree!
All of us want more business. Sometimes, that’s just a little more business because we are working within tight constraints of a managed growth pattern. Other times, we want as much “more” business as possible because business has slowed, and our profits are shrinking. No matter what kind of “more” we are all seeking, it’s important to be deliberate (even laser focused), in creating the right strategic advertising plan.
An advertising plan is a “to do” list, a guide to action. A strategic advertising plan differs from a “standard” or “tactical” plan in scope. A strategic plan is comprehensive, covering every aspect of an advertising program, from goals to measurement. We assist you in planning your strategy to a size that fits your budget and needs.
The 3 core parts of any advertising plan (which need to be written and understood) are:
- What do we want to accomplish? What are our objectives/goals?
- How will we reach these goals? What will we do, and what will it cost, to achieve our objectives? How do we maintain a cohesive approach to these goals? How do we keep a consistent message throughout the media to maximize our results?
- How do we measure results? How do we determine whether we have accomplished our objectives?
Over the course of the next few months, we will discuss various aspects of strategic advertising, and how following a distinct, direct course of action will help your business grow. Our priority is to support and empower you to bring your business to the next level. But first, there needs to be an admission of where you are currently. It’s been our experience that many businesses don’t have a plan. They may use multiple mediums like radio, print, web, and tv. However, they lack direction. Maybe they advertise sales or special events, but fail to brand their business.
If, like many others, you find yourself wondering what kind of advertising you’re really doing (and what it accomplishes), then we hope this (and future columns) helps answer some of those questions.
Our goal at M-Y Agency is to help your business reach maximum potential, which in turn will help our local economy and community thrive. Stay tuned for more Bright Ideas from M-Y Agency.
Russ Meder and Nate Yanez
Many small-business owners think a marketing budget is a luxury — an unnecessary expense they can’t afford. But failure to appropriately market and advertise your business can have a significant impact on its ability to prosper. A carefully planned and budgeted marketing approach can help you effectively promote your business to its target demographic while staying within established financial parameters. Read More