Joomla! Websites Under Attack

Joomla Websites Under AttackIt is common knowledge that there are legions of hackers trying to gain access to websites around the world. It is accepted as part of having a web presence that someone (human or automated) will try to attack your site many, many times each day. We have recently learned of an unusual spike in such events, and wanted to share it with you.

Many websites are built using a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal.  The developers behind these plataforms work hard to fight hackers and spammers from gaining access to your website.  They do a good job of blocking most attempts. Despite their diligent efforts, however, it does happen. This past couple of weeks we have heard from a few colleagues and clients that their websites have been hacked.  All of these sites have been built on the Joomla! CMS platform. This is causing issues ranging from website downtime to complete server failure.  Repairing a site after these hacking events have been very time-consuming, and, in some cases, has involved the need to rebuild the entire website.

As we have been repairing these websites, we have had conversations with industry insiders – reputable internet authorities at the big web hosts – and have been told that Joomla! sites have been specifically targeted and are being hacked at an alarming rate over the past week.  They are not only hacking sites of big companies, but are also attacking sites of companies as small as one or two employees. According to one industry insider, the method of “how to hack” these sites has been published on hacker websites and it’s become a free-for-all among their community.  In short: Your website WILL be hacked.

If your website is built on the Joomla! platform, especially if your site is on a version prior to Joomla 3, it has been at risk, but is now that risk has increased greatly. We strongly recommend that you consider moving your website off the Joomla! platform, and to a more secure CMS.

If you would like to learn more about how to avoid a potentially serious issue with your website, or would like to move it to a more secure platform, please call us or contact us now to get started with a website upgrade.

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AdWords Success Tip: Prioritize Your Campaigns

AdWords Success Tip: Prioritize Your Campaigns

 

Working with Google AdWords you quickly learn: It is one thing to create and monitor the activity of a campaign. It’s another thing to know what actions to take based on the data you collect. You’ll see AdWords Success when you learn to Prioritize your Campaigns.

Out of my own frustration, I researched and came across a system to analyze and improve campaigns, turning what used to be a drudgery into a relatively easy and enjoyable task.

It’s called the Growth-Share Matrix, created by the Boston Consulting Group in the early 1970s. Applying their matrix, I came to understand that all AdWords campaigns fall into one of four categories:

Stars:  The campaigns that are both profitable and popular.

Workhorses: The campaigns that are very popular, but generating little money – or you’re losing money on them.

Puzzles:  The campaign with a low cost-per-click for one of your most profitable products, on which you get to the first spot with little trouble, but after weeks, there are zero impressions.

Dogs: This campaign is unpopular, and on the rare occasion that you do get a click, it’s at such a high cost you don’t make any money on the conversion.

AdWords Success Tips

Click here to download a PDF of the chart

How to Prioritize your AdWords Campaigns

In the end, you want a portfolio of Star campaigns. Here is a step-by-step process to follow:

First, identify your Star campaigns.

  • What aspects of this campaign are working? The URL?  The Headline?  Is it easy to show up in the first position? Take the best elements of your Star campaigns and apply them to poor performers.

Next, let’s tackle the Workhorses.

  • If you are on “Automatic bidding,” switch to Manual Bids and lower them.  With all other aspects of the campaign being equal, you may have a good click-through volume at a lower cost.
  • Look at the quality score.  If it’s below 6/10, you could likely raise it for a lower CPC.
  • Cut Bad Keywords!  If you’re using a keyword with high cost-per-click, consider cutting it completely.

 Time to solve the Puzzles.

  • People like what they see when they actually SEE this ad.  Is there an opportunity to increase impressions by adding more keywords & ads?  Think about other search terms being used for this product or service and consider them.

 Consider Letting the Dogs out.

  • Can anything be changed to save this campaign?  Is it worth saving?  If the low performance is impacting the account overall quality score, consider pausing it indefinitely or deleting it altogether.

Once you have sanitized your campaign portfolio using this method, you’ll need a plan to monitor, evaluate and improve campaign performance going forward.  We recommend categorizing campaigns by their performance at least once a week.  Over time, you’ll find it’s very easy to identify the campaigns in seconds!  If your time is limited, always attack campaign improvements in this order:

  1. Dogs
  2. Workhorses
  3. Puzzles
  4. Stars

 

 Keep at it and within weeks you should see better performance on all your campaigns. Little by little, you’ll end up with a portfolio of Star Campaigns!

Lucid Business Strategies

 Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you build and grow a revenue stream throug Google AdWords.

email for info or call (586) 254-0095.

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Video or Podcast: Which is Right for your Business?

Video or Podcast: Which is Right for Your Business?

Video or Podcast: If you are a business owner it is no longer a question of whether you should invest in internet broadcast such as YouTube or a Podcast. The only question is: which is right for your business?

 Don’t Assume Others Like What you Like

Videos-icon39-Podcast-iconWhat works well for you might not work for your best friend. I’m a visual learner, for example. Video attracts me. I rarely listen to podcasts. I often “tune out” the radio as I drive around town. My friend Maureen is the opposite. She’s a podcast junkie, rarely watching a video and paying close attention to every word on the talk radio station she loves.

Don’t assume others like what you like. Consider your audience carefully, and search out research that allows you to see trends in the behaviors of the people you wish to attract.

 Weigh your Content

Video requires two senses – vision and hearing – and full attention. Podcasts require only hearing, which means some people will multi-task, giving only partial attention to the broadcast. The more your viewer/listener needs to think, the more senses you should include.

Is your topic light or heavy? Does it require people to “think through” something, or is it intended more for entertainment? Run your content through the Fleisch Scale for a better understanding. If your content is rated “difficult,” you’ll need to rewrite your script.

Short is Sweet

At a recent video shoot for a client, our President and Lead Consultant, Jeff McElyea, chatted with the videographer recommended to us by Comcast. He told Jeff that Comcast recommends business videos be only about 2 minutes in length, and podcasts only 30 seconds – like a commercial spot. Both are meant to promo your company with “fast fact” info. Anything much beyond those guidelines and you begin to see dramatic fall-off from viewers/listeners. This suggestion is backed by HubSpot research, which shows that 33% of viewers move on after watching just 30 seconds of a video. 44% leave at the 1-minute mark, and 60% bail on your video after 2 minutes.

 On the Lighter Side

A while ago our Marketing Specialists, Erin Vezzetti, came upon a YouTube video that has become the “poster child” for the type of work we like to create. The commercial, which based on Erin’s research cost about $5,000, has been viewed 10,821,818 times as of today. They have 110,000 followers on Facebook. What made this 1.5 minute video a smashing success? The attitude, the approach – poking fun at themselves and their business while presenting a great deal. But would it do well in a podcast? I don’t think so. Take a look and see what you think!

Lucid Business Strategies

 

Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you build profitable companies and great social media marketing strategies.
email for info or

call 586-254-0095

 

 

 

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What Your Social Media Photo Says About You

What Your Social Media Photo Says about You

Social Media Profile Photo

What does your Social Media Photo Say About You?

Maybe you think that photo of you and the grinning kids at the beach shows your “fun side.” Maybe you think a sardonic smile and half-wink makes you look sophisticated.

The truth about Social media profile pictures is that it doesn’t matter what you think. What matters is how you are perceived as a result of that photo – and the impact it can have on your business or job prospects.

In a recent blog post, DuctTape Marketing’s John Jantsch says “Don’t settle for that phone ‘selfy’ bounce shot off the mirror or the ‘look how arty I can be’ shot… get a series of professional shots done.”

The First Impression Factor

Ron J. Williams, CEO of Knodes & SnapGoods, and one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People In Business, says business networking is a lot like dating, and the online dating industry has tons of data on the impact of a first impression.

The Dating Site OKCupid did a study in 2010 that looked at the number of contacts made based on three factors of the photos:

  • Attitude. Are you smiling? Looking into the camera or away from it? Are you flirting?
  • Context. Where are you? Is there alcohol, a pet, or other people in the photo? Are you inside, or outdoors?
  • Skin. How much skin is showing? How much face?

They found that a small change in “facial attitude” increased contacts as much as 30%. The really fascinating part is what worked best based on gender:

  • Women smiling directly into the camera received more contacts than those that looked away from the camera.
  • Photos of men facing away from the camera and not smiling drew more response than those that smiled into the camera.

The study also shows that traditional headshots get better results than the one in your waders with the big fish you just caught, or the cuddled-up-with-your-pooch shots. No matter how you look at it, first impressions count, whether the viewer is looking for a date, vetting you for a job offer, or considering doing business with you.

Take a fresh look at your Social Media profile Photo. What does it say about you? Is that the impression you wish to give?

 Lucid Business Strategies

Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you build profitable companies and great social media strategies
email for info or

call 586-254-0095

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Blogging: The Rule of Authority

Blogging: The Rule of Authority

On or off-line, people trust, follow, and share the wisdom and content of those they feel have greater authority than themselves. As children we accepted the authority of our parents, babysitters, teachers, the police, and clergy. When we matured, we also honored the orders of our boss, attorney, or doctor.

 Authority Holds Power

In an on-air stunt, a TV reporter dressed in a uniform and carrying a badge and baton placed a sign on the ATM that read “OUT OF ORDER – GIVE DEPOSITS TO GUARD ON DUTY,” then stood next to the machine.

“Do you need to make a deposit, or a withdrawal?” he asked as each bank patron approached.

Without hesitation, the customers handed over cash, checks, Social Security numbers, credit cards, account numbers, and PIN codes. In two hours time, the reporter gained access to over $10,000 in check deposits and account balances. Only one out of ten showed any signs of hesitation, even though they were all giving away private information that could leave them penniless if it fell into the wrong hands.

When the reporter ‘fessed up and asked the people why they were so willing to hand him money and private information, every one of them stated that the sign and the uniform gave him authority. [1]

Blogging: The Rule of Authority

Online Authority

Google and the other search engines give “authority” to people who have earned a following and share all they can on a given topic. The more “authority” Google ascribes to you and your web page/blog, the higher your page will rank in organic search results.

While the search engine authority equation is complex, the concept is simple: online, your authority is based on what other people say about you, which includes the number of other authoritative people who link to your site or blog.  As humans, we seek out the people who are credible, knowledgeable, and reliable. We give them authority, and when we see that someone else has the “blessing” of those authoritative people, we give them authority, too, so we link to them or subscribe to their blogs and feeds.  Why do you think unknown authors pay $10,000 or more for a two-sentence front-of-the-book “endorsement” from famous names? They become authoritative by association.

How do you Build Authority?

Aside from technical steps related to coding for Search Engines, there are quite a few things you can do. Here are four no-cost avenues with which to start:

Stories that STICK & Educate: “Sticky content” is the stuff that brings people back to your website again and again. It’s relevant to the reader, and it educates. Sticky Content is not loaded up with sales talk.

Great Headlines and Hooks: Without ‘em, you don’t have a chance to attract attention. 80% of people read only the headline. Only 20% read the rest.

Good Content Promotion:  Great Content + Limited Promo = Fail. Great Content + Great Promo = Great Results. Be consistent and strong in your promotions, but don’t load it up with sales talk.

Loyal Subscribers:  You can yammer on all you want about your favorite topic, but you are speaking into the wind if you don’t have a growing following. Offer incentives and/or freebies – an e-book, for example – when people subscribe to your blog, then stay in touch. Look them up on Facebook or Twitter and learn a bit about them, contact them and ask for their feedback. Show them you are interested in them, and your list will grow because they will talk about you to their network.

On or off-line, people trust, follow, and share the wisdom and content of those they feel have greater authority than themselves. Will you be one of them?


[1]  Story told by noted Copywriter Dean Rieck www.directcreative.com

Lucid Business Strategies

Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you gain authority online.
email for info or

call 586-254-0095

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Do Stock Images Hurt Website Rankings?

Do Stock Images Hurt your Website Rankings?

Do Stock Images Hurt Your Website Rankings?

Do Stock Images Hurt Your Website Rankings?

Adding images to your website is a good thing. From the reader’s perspective, images help people connect to your words and add visual interest.

Meanwhile, the SEO industry and web developer community has been questioning whether Search Engines mark you down for using stock images rather than original images.

Matt Cutts, Head of the Webspam Team at Google, recently said that there is neither negative nor positive impact on your organic web rankings if you use stock images rather than original images. See Matt’s 59-second YouTube video.

How Search Engines Read Websites

When you see a picture of a woman laughing, you know she’s heard or seen something funny – because you are human and have eyes. You SEE it. Search Engines – and the screen readers used by the visually impaired – read the code.

There’s a huge difference.

You see images; the search engine sees programming. These are two very distinct and different languages.

It’s a big help to the search engines when you give your images names that relate to the page on which the image is placed. Regardless of whether you are using stock images or your own, naming the images with the keywords for that page will assist in improving your page rank.

If, for example, your web page is about the physical action of laughing, our laughing woman photo would add to Google’s impression of your site if it was laughing woman.jpg, because Google would read that the photo is about the same thing as the page content.

If you load the same image onto your site but it’s called Disc_068743.jpg, Google would scratch its head and say, “Hhmmm… this has nothing to do with laughing,” and consider your web page irrelevant to the reader, and that has a negative impact on your page rank.

The second half of the equation is the “alt” tag you give to the image. This is the text a site visitor sees if something is stopping them from seeing the actual image. Just make sure that whatever you call the photo, you also use for the “alt” tag.

Stock Image or Original, your website rankings will improve when you follow these simple steps.

Let us know how you are doing!

Lucid Business Strategies

Lucid Business Strategies is building a GREAT company that helps other people build GREAT companies.

Learn more about our strategies and services on the Lucid website or call us at

586-254-0095

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