2 smart steps to improve your website performance

2 smart steps to improve your website performance

  • You want to get the most visitors to your website;
  • you don’t want to be excluded from Google searches on smartphones;
  • you don’t want visitors to see warning messages that might drive visitors away from your website.

If these three sentences resonate with you in any way, you may want to give a look at these two smart steps to improve your website’s performance.

1) Equip your website with a Responsive Design

Responsive Design

Responsive Design makes sure that browsing works fluidly across all screen sizes from desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This is done by building your website in a manner that presents differently to different screen sizes, so the website visitor has a very positive experience no matter what size screen they are looking at.

2) Get HTTPS, setting up a SSL to secure data on your website

Adding the S for “Secure” to your web address will both improve your ranking and avoid warnings such as “this site may not be safe” when visitors arrive. Adding the “S” requires a Secure Socket Layer that encrypts data transferring to and from your site from visitors and adds authentication to your website that says it is safe for visitors.

Need help to set up a Responsive Design or SSL on your website?

The rise of the mobile-first design approach

You may now be wondering how did we get here.

From 1996 to 2014, it was all about growing businesses into deciding that they should have a web presence. Some did it just to be there (in case they might miss something). Then, as time went by, more and more businesses took to a web presence and grew their effort to maximise its effectiveness.

Finally, with the rise of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, more and more people shifted towards them, moving away from desktop computers.

Amazon, Ebay, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks and services have been strong drivers of bringing more and more users online as everyone now can connect to the web reaching out their device in their pocket.

The role of Search Engines

Search Engines such as Google, as their algorithms grow more and more sophisticated, want to provide their users the best possible experience when searching for something through their service.

Aware of the rise of mobile browsing, this means that a website has to:

  • be easy to browse from any device;
  • keep their users privacy safe.

Mobile-first design approach

On April 21, 2015, The rise of mobile devices in the online browsing market, led Google to roll out the so called “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update. This update gives priority – in mobile Search Engine Results Page – to websites that display correctly on mobile devices.

Last January, Google started issuing a penalty to those websites that display intrusive popups on their users’ devices.

The list goes on.

Safety through HTTPS encryption\SSL certificate

HTTPS encryption has been declared to be a ranking factor since August 2014, although people are getting more aware of it only just lately, when major web browsers started to clearly show in their URL bar whether a website has such encryption in place or not.

On Chrome browser, for example, you will now see to the left of the web address:

  • Secure

  • Info Info or Not secure

  • Dangerous Not secure or Dangerous

For website owners this can be a big negative. Someone is just about to visit your website and they are now being warned away, because “you are HTTP and not HTTPS!”.

Again, the focus here is on the visitor first and the website owner second.

For websites that are just information – this appears at first to be a bit strong but adding the “S” to HTTP adds a Secure Socket Layer to ensure data is encrypted and therefore protects the website visitor. This matters whether they are simply browsing your website or entering personal details and other sensitive information such as credit card details, etc.

Now, the bottom line is that if you do not have a HTTPS on your website – visitors are likely to reduce due to warnings and lower rankings.

If you do add HTTPS (using a Secure Socket Layer) then you are seen to respect your potential website visitors and you are rewarded by Google and the browsers by not having warnings showing to visitors.

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Protect from WannaCry in 5 steps: prevention is the best protection

Protect from WannaCry in 5 steps: prevention is the best protection

I bet there are lots of people who want to cry after being hit this Easter Weekend with the WannaCry ransomware.

What is WannaCry and why should I care?

Also known as Wanna, WCry, WannaCry, WannaCryptor and Wana DecryptOr, this ransomware hit mostly Windows machines running versions prior to Windows 10. The way this attack works is the same as per other previously known ransomwares: it encrypts files that are stored on the devices connected to the computer (hard disks, etc.) and demands payment in Bitcoin for the decryption key.

Unless you pay before the time expires, you won’t ever have access to your files again. Also, it is not granted that once you pay the hackers will give you the decryption key.

How to stop crying and protect your files in 5 easy steps

The following tips may sound a little cheap, but the damage that WannaCry was able to bring was also caused by computer owners and system administrators not paying much attention to basic computer security techniques.

To put it simply: backup offline and keep your system and Antivirus software updated.

Wana Decryptor screenshot from the WannaCry ransomware

1. Always backup your files

Always, always do backups. This is not just for ransomware attack prevention. Having a backup of your data stored on offline devices such as External Hard Disks (that are unplugged from your computer when they are not needed) is the best way to prevent the loss of all of your files in any occasion (hard disk failures, viruses, data theft, etc.).

2. Update your Windows Operating System

First of all, always use officially supported versions of your operating system on computers that are connected to the internet. Windows 7 machines were the most attacked by WannaCry, but many institutions still run Windows XP, which is very vulnerabile and, even though Microsoft released a special security patch for the occasion, they suspended support to it on April 2014.

If you have an old, no longer supported version of the Windows operating system or if you do not regularly install Windows Updates when they roll out, you are putting your files in danger. If WannaCry didn’t hit you it does not mean you are safe from it and from other ransomware attacks.

If you have not updated your Windows operating system from last March, chances are you are in danger of getting hit by the WannaCry ransomware. The one that WannaCry exploits is an old flaw that has long been fixed by a system update. Still many computer users do not regularly update their software, hence their risk of being hit by viruses incresases.

3. Update your Antivirus software

Most Antivirus today have a Free subscription that you can make use of to keep your computer safer. As said, WannaCry exploits old security flaws and many updated Antivirus softwares can already help you defend against this and other ransomware.

4. Disable SMB1 on Windows 7/8/10

SMB stands for Server Message Block and it is a network file sharing protocol that enables the sharing of files, printers and more between computers. There are three versions of such protocol (SMB1, SMB2 and SMB3) and Microsoft has long suggested to disable the SMB1 for security reasons. With WannaCry at large this is even more important.

You can check an easy guide on how to disable SMB1 on your Windows system over at The Windows Club.

5. Don’t pay

This is a pretty useless advice if you always keep backups of your files, but still: paying the ransom will not guarantee you that you will get the decription key to access your files from the attackers.

It has been found out that the decryption operation is not automatic, but have to be manually issued by the attackers. This requires even longer times to get your files back (and less chances that it could actually happen).

Also, by not paying the attackers you are probably doing a good job in not making the ransomware a lucrative business.

For more information about the current status of WannaCry and other ransomware, please check relevant security news websites such as the F-Secure blog.

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Super Garden Finalist Maddie Dineen’s Website for Landscaping Services

Super Garden Finalist Maddie Dineen’s Website for Landscaping Services

Congratulations to Maddie Dineen, who has been selected as a finalist in this years Super Garden competition.

The finalists will be featured each Tuesday at 8.30pm on RTE1 in the run up to selecting the winning garden to appear in this years Bloom Festival.

Landscaping Design expert Maddie Dineen features on Super Garden on RTE1 on 23rd May at 8.30pm.

We at Handyweb.ie are delighted that Maddie chose us as Web Developers for her new Garden Design website.

Together, we developed a Responsive Website that could perfectly work as a Portfolio for her Landscaping Services. Built on WordPress it is easy for her to manage, update and modify it anytime.

If you missed any of the Supergarden series on RTE you can still watch them on PLAYBACK

Do you need help in making your website work harder? Contact us!

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7 easy tips to increase your Ecommerce Security

7 easy tips to increase your Ecommerce Security

Owners of Ecommerce Websites usually focus on delivering a high quality user experience, so that visitors will enjoy their buying experience. Other than the way products are presented, Ecommerce Security should be a crucial topic for both owners and users.

Unfortunately, most Ecommerce owners do not give enough consideration to security until something goes wrong, which is generally too late.

Hackers always try new ways to attack websites to gather information, deny access to your website, extract customer information, or redirect payments to their accounts.

Ecommerce owners have a responsibility to protect their clients against such events. Small brands, big brands they all have been attacked by hackers. The flaws in their safety can lead visitors to lose faith and trust in their services. Nobody likes having their financial and personal information exposed where they would not wish!

The good news is that you can do something to increase your Ecommerce’s security. Here are 6 quick, general tips:

1. Secure your website with HTTPS

Over 17% of online customers will leave the shopping process when they notice that a website is not secured with a HTTPS protocol.

The HTTPS protocol keeps the conversation between your website and your customers’ computer confidential. This means that when they submit their private or financial informations these are not easily subject to being intercepted by hackers.

You can notice whether a website, page or service is HTTPS-secured just by looking at the URL bar of your internet browser. If there is a little lock icon, or if the URL of the website starts with “https://”, then it is HTTPS-secured, otherwise is not.

Some browsers warn you when a website is not HTTPS-secured but you should always be wary when you are about to provide personal or financial informations.

2. Use strong passwords for your website accounts and change them frequently

Clients often ask us for easier passwords to remember for their website accounts. While we do not force them to keep their passwords strong, our suggestion always points towards that direction.

A strong password has at least 15 characters, is composed by both lowercase and uppercase letters, contains numbers and symbols (such as ? % ^ $ *). You can use this useful website to create a strong password.

3. Backup your website often

If you don’t do this yourself, arrange with your web developer to set up an automated website backup, possibly away from your premises.

This is a low cost solution that avoids a nightmare situation if your website ever gets hacked and all your products disappear.

4. Log out of your website when you’re not working on it

Frequently we find out that clients do not log out of their website and just walk away from the computer that remains logged on.

5. Avoid Open Wi-Fi hotspots when managing your website

Wi-Fi is great and, of course, we all love free Wi-Fi! Security levels on free Wi-Fi are often limited, though, and can easily be hacked.

This means that anything you type while connected to such Wi-Fi is open to being captured and used by hackers.

Being careful about what you do on free Wi-Fi is a general security rule and we share the common strong suggestion to wait until you are using secure connections before you use a credit card or give banking or password details that matter to you.

6. Update antivirus on computers and devices you use to manage your website

As obvious as it may be, we strongly suggest you to keep your antivirus and antimalware software updated. Also we invite you, of course, not to open emails from persons you do not know.

Also, don’t open attachments or click on links that you are unsure of. Email spam keeps getting more sophisticated. Spam emails don’t always carry a subject as silly as “Click here to download an important message”.

They can infect your computer and some of your actions can make the malware spread to your website, therefore to its users.

7. Also update your browser

Many good browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, can be extended with an increasing number of apps (or extensions or plugins). These apps can make life easier for you in many different ways.

Still, our suggestion is to always ensure that both these apps and your browser are up to date. Also, keep an eye out for those apps you didn’t install on purpose. They could be the kind of malware that opens up dozens of spam popups whenever you try to do something on the internet!


We develop Ecommerce, can we help you?

At Handyweb.ie we can help you improve your Ecommerce Security, as we can provide quality advise, put in place secure certificates (HTTPS) and setup automated backups.

We can perform a scan on your website, then clean, protect, and monitor it every day, preventing attacks from hackers and other vulnerabilities from arising.

WooCommerce 3.0 Major Update Released

WooCommerce 3.0 is a new Major Update for the worldwide-known eCommerce plugin for Wordpress. Codenamed "Bionic Butterfly", this new version of the plugin has been in development since August 2016 and in beta since December 2016. Let's find out what's new! A new...

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7 easy tips to increase your Ecommerce Security

Owners of Ecommerce Websites usually focus on delivering a high quality user experience, so that visitors will enjoy their buying experience. Other than the way products are presented, Ecommerce Security should be a crucial topic for both owners and users....

read more
Don’t let security issues stop you selling online?

Don’t let security issues stop you selling online?

As more and more businesses go online – there is more pressure on ensuring your website visitors  trust your e-commerce website.   In recent times some web browsers are pro-active to their users and identify websites that do not have a high level of security – and tells them before they actually go on to the website with messages like the image above.

This is good for web users but bad for e-commerce website owners who do not not have a security certificate on areas where visitors give their personal details.

You may not be aware that your website is losing customers other than seeing a downturn in sales – as you may not realise potential visitors are turning away from your website once they see the message above.

THE SAFE SOLUTION

There is an effective  solution which is strongly recommended by Handyweb.ie for all e-commerce websites and websites that collect any information about their visitors via forms.  By adding SSL ( secure socket layer ) to your website you will immediately stop warning messages appearing to potential visitors, will improve your google ranking ( as google sees this as a trust element) and will build trust with your visitors who will know you care about their security and safety on your online business. Visitors will now see your website address starting with  the serure  https:/ rather than the standard http:/

Talk to Handyweb.ie today for further information or to have this implemented on your existing website or if you are thinking about launching an e-commerce website then talk to us today.

 

Brought to you by Handyweb.ie 

Phone: +353 (0) 44 93 45145
email: info@handyweb.ie
Services: Web and App Consultants, e-Commerce, Responsive Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation,  Digital Marketing, Social Media, App Development, Online Payments, Online  Business Automation.
The power of Colour in your Logo Design

The power of Colour in your Logo Design

Different colours are associated with different emotions. The power of Colour in your logo design   is immense.  This fantastic infographic from Colourfast  gives you a great sense of how careful consideration of colours can deliver great results in your logo design.

 

Psychology of Colour

 

 

Brought to you by Handyweb.ie 

Phone: +353 (0) 44 93 45145
email: info@handyweb.ie
Services: Web and App Consultants, e-Commerce, Responsive Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation,  Digital Marketing, Social Media, App Development, Online Payments, Online  Business Automation.