WordPress Websites are Targets for Hackers

Did you know that according to Forbes magazine, over 30,000 websites get hacked a day? Of course you never think that this will happen to you. However, we come across hacked websites often with new clients. One of our most recent clients came to us because her website, where she sells children’s products for eduction (where hundreds of teachers, principles and educators visit daily) were being forwarded to an adult website. How credible does this look for your company? Do you think that that visitor will ever go there again? Do you think they would ever do business with you? Chances are … probably not.

It is CRUCIAL that your website is protected from hackers and malicious code. Unfortunately, because WordPress is the most widely used content management system, it is the largest target for being hacked today. Once you have been hacked, it can take hundreds if not thousands to clean up and restore your website. Luckily, at Downtown Design we have our own server, hosted off-site where we have a multiple threat detections active at all times, a firewall, plus we take daily back-ups of every website to protect and restore if and when a hacker strikes. It’s no worries, we just have you covered.

If your website is being hosted with a cheap, largely advertised company, you are likely to be prone to hackers. Get protected with us. Almost all migrations are FREE of charge and our hosting with all the hacker protection only starts at $29/mo.

Credit: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameslyne/2013/09/06/30000-web-sites-hacked-a-day-how-do-you-host-yours/#19e6dc151738

Why Hire a Local Website Designer in Minneapolis, MN?

With the excitement of Summer (sadly) winding down, it’s time to put all of your focus back on your business. The easiest way to give your company some much needed attention is with a NEW WEBSITE. In order to create a new website, you need a LOCAL Web Design Company. But why should you choose a local compan
y and not one half-way across the country (or even the world)? We will break down the main reasons why!

  1. Loyalty
    • Everyone knows that the general rule of thumb is that neighbors are usually more loyal to you than someone who is on the other side of the country. Supporting your community with using a local company improves your loyalty as well. If other local businesses notice that you supported a local business, you are more likely to gain their business.
  2. YOUR Competition is Always on Their Minds
    • If you and your web design company are in the same area, then they know who your competition is. Local web design companies know how competitive or uncompetitive your local competition is. For example, would a web designer in California know about the Grand Finale Car Show that is coming to Downtown Anoka this September?
  3. Meetings are More Likely to be Face to Face
    • Most likely if you hire a web designer out-of-state, you will never come in face-to-face contact with them. But if you use a local web design company, the chances of having face-to-face meetings with them improves drastically. When clients are face-to-face with their web designers, the whole process tends to go more smoothly.
  4. Get to Know You on a More Personal Level
    • Since you have chosen a web design company located closer to you, you are able to have more contact with them. If you were to choose a worldwide freelance development service, or something of that nature, you would only be a number to them. Local businesses will know YOUR name!
  5. Quality is Always Better
    • Now that you have a great relationship with your web designers, they will not want to disappoint you with low quality work. You will be able to check on them more frequently to be sure your site is getting done right.

If you or someone you know in the Minneapolis, MN area needs a website or some SEO help call us today!

Are free sites, really free?

So you are in the market for a new website. You begin doing your research. However, you don’t have to do much research to find out that websites can cost thousands from your local website design company. You are determined that there is a more affordable option. You are watching your favorite TV show then, WHAM! There’s the option you was looking for … they are giving away FREE websites! Wow, cool! Why pay thousands for a website when I can get one for FREE. What’s the catch?

Great question! So what costs are we missing here?

1. Cost of un-professional design. 
Ever heard the expression, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest”? Do you want your website to look professional or look like a 5th grade art project? Think about the customers you want to attract. Think about how your competitor’s websites look. If you do not have a creative edge, designer education and professional layout tools, your website will scream “cheap” and “unprofessional” and your potential leads are sure to jump off your site and on to your competitors.

2. Cost of on-site optimization. 
Unless you are a professional search engine optimization specialist, you will be missing all the onsite optimization that can be placed internally in the website. This is REQUIRED to get your website listed on Google. If it’s not done when the website is created, you will need to pay for this to be completed, costing thousands of dollars anyway.

3. Cost of poor customer service. 
According to online reviews and ratings, Weebly and Wix scored “Terrible” and “Disappointing” overall customer service ratings. In fact, Weebly’s NEGATIVE customer support feedback was a shocking 90%. So not only you are expected to create your own website using their technology, they are not there to support it.

4. Cost of your time.
Would you rather set aside a marketing budget to get your online marketing professionally done .. or would you rather spend the next few months struggling to learn a new constantly changing profession on a computer with an internet technology with no help, then come to find out that your new website that you created only works partially and can’t be found on search engines anywhere. Very frustrating!

5. What they don’t tell you, costs you.
If you ever want to do anything cool or upgraded for your website – you’ve got to pay. Also, most of the time your website will have an Advertisement for FREE WEBSITES in the footer area… that just makes your whole company look cheap. Furthermore … You’ll pay for more pages, bells and whistles.

6. You don’t own the site.
You really won’t own the site, you are renting it. You won’t have full control and worse yet, if you ever leave their services – you lose everything!

7. Spamming you … and your customers.
Some of these sites also SPAM your customers. So let’s say they come to you to buy one of your products. Well, for the next few days or weeks all of the ads on any other website they visit will present your competitors to them… This is spamming your customers. You can lose revenue very quickly.

 

Take our advice, we see this all the time. We are the ones that fix these issues for our new clients. They don’t really mean free. It’s COSTLY and TIME CONSUMING, so they can make money off of you and your customers. Don’t let it happen to you.

 

Customer Service Scoreboard, (http://www.customerservicescoreboard.com/)

Webtegrity, (https://webtegrity.com/our-blog/web-design-tips/wix-vs-webs-vs-weebly-free-websites-really-free/)

So you put in, “Website Design Minneapolis MN” in Google … now what?

So now you are staring at a list of top website designers in Minneapolis, MN – now what? Here are our top 5 things to do:

  1. Check their portfolio.
    The worst feeling is paying a ton of money for something that looks like crap. Make sure that your new potential website company has what it takes to make you look better than your leading competitor’s websites.
  2. Research the owner. 
    It pays to do a little research on who you’ll be working with. Try to meet with the owner of the company, but maybe do a little research first. Facebook and LinkedIn are great resources!
  3. Check ratings.
    A good web designer knows that keeping their reputation up with the public is important. Check out Google, Facebook and Yelp ratings to see what clients have to say.
  4. Meet with them.
    Make sure to have a face to face meeting with who you will be working with. It’s important to have good synergy when working on any extended project. Make it enjoyable for you.
  5. Make sure they’re local.
    When it comes to large projects, a local company can make a world of difference. It’s important that the person that you are working with is local, but also their entire team. Make sure that phone calls can and will be made during your business hours, not at completely the opposite time around the world. Not to mention, it may be important to you to support your local community.

Building a website requires teamwork with both parties, and should be a continued relationship as the website expands with the business. Make sure the relationship can be long lasting and mutually beneficial.

Responsive Website: A necessity for every business online

You look at your website that you just did one, wait…was it already three years ago?  Anyway, you look at your company website that you “just” did, and somehow, it doesn’t seem to be up to par with some of your competitors.  The photos aren’t as big.  There isn’t as much movement.  It doesn’t seem to fill the screen like theirs.  It just doesn’t have that ‘pizazz’ that theirs do.  And to top it off, yours certainly doesn’t fit all perfect on your smart phone or tablet like theirs.  What gives?  

Well, it sounds like your website is in need of a Responsive Upgrade.  We can’t call it an “update” because it isn’t quite that simple.  However, making your website responsive will, in fact, bring it up-to-date!

Why is responsive so important?  DID YOU KNOW: Nearly 50% of consumers won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices. According to CNN, “In January 2014, Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet — the first time that has ever happened.”

Responsive websites are quickly becoming a necessity for any company online.  Your viewers expect the ideal experience when visiting your website.  After all, they took the time to search for you on their own or possibly looked into you from an advertisement or referral.  The least you could do is make sure that they aren’t frustrated with how your website looks and acts when they are on it.  No matter where they are viewing it from: Widescreen monitors, laptops, tablets and all of those schnazzy smart phones.  So, why not give it to them?!  …the ideal viewing experience, that is.

A responsive website with a new, fresh and modern look is easier and closer than you think.

How close?  Call Downtown Design today! 1.763.248.4407

The importance of a website update

Imagine this:  You’re planning an exciting surprise weekend away.  You contact two different hotels in the heart of the area you’re going to explore, and you ask that they send you information.  HOTEL #1 mails you an outdated brochure, with photos of employees sporting 80’s blazers and comb-overs in a dark brass-emblazoned lobby.  HOTEL #2 sends you a glossy, die-cut brochure with bright smiling faces that look thrilled to be working in a welcoming and modern environment.  They’ve even included current local coupons and an itinerary of local events!

According to the photos you find online, which of these hotels would you book with? VPMG_Updating-Websites-Is-Important_1980-Concierge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does your online presence make your company look like this?

 

VPMG_Updating-Websites-Is-Important_Current-ConciergeOr look like this? 

It is entirely possible that both hotels offer amazing customer service.  And perhaps the brass décor of the first hotel is much more charming and “authentic” in person.  But if a company doesn’t work to prove to you that they have these qualities, why would you consider them as an option?  Your time and money are valuable.  A company should earn the privilege of you spending any of it on and with them.

It works the same way on the internet and with websites.  You wouldn’t ever send prospective clients an outdated brochure, so why have them visit an outdated website?  And consider your search engine providers:  Why would Google choose to display an outdated, irrelevant website on the first page of search results?  They have tons companies, every day, that are simply dying to get their new, shiny, fun and exciting website out in front of waiting eyes.  Remember: Search engines are businesses.  They want people to keep using their service.  So they want to provide their users with up-to-date, attractive and relevant website results.  Companies that actually got a responsive website update.

It is important that you get a website update!

Relevant site content is in-depth text on your pages to describe your current service or product.  It can also include your business achievements, goals and news.  Even if your services haven’t changed in the past five years, chances are, the way the industry works or how people view your services HAVE changed.  Especially when they are viewing you through the eyes of the internet.  Your website should convey to readers that your business is up to par with your competition and that you’re always striving to meet the needs of your customers.

So how important is it that you get your responsive website update?  Well, that depends on how important it is to you that your potential clients find you, and when they do, they like what they see.  One would assume, that’s pretty important to you.  Google wants you to get a responsive website update.  Bing wants you to get a responsive website update.  Yahoo, Yelp, MerchantCenter.com and MapQuest all want you to get a responsive website update.  Because the better you look, the better they look.  So if you want to be on the top of their list… Make sure you get a responsive website update and consider the following:

  • Page Rank:  This is how they decide your popularity, by examining the number of quality outside links that point to your page.  Pages with a higher page rank are deemed more important than those with a lower ranking score.  You can gain outside links by having “share-worthy” content on your website that other sites think is good enough to share and link to.
  • Page and Site Content: Do your website’s pages contain interesting and helpful content about your industry and services?  Does your text include relevant keywords and SEO in the appropriate places?  Are your web pages talking about relating topics?  These guys will scan your website for this stuff.  So a consistent website update with new content to improve your content and build up your SEO is important.
  • Relevancy: Useful content makes it so much easier to know what your website is all about.  BONUS: Posting new content gives search engines a reason to scan your website more often!  Sites that are frequently updated also keep readers interested.  No one wants to waste their time reading outdated text.  Their time would be better spent sweeping off the patio in a sandstorm.  Your competitors are out there talking about the latest news in your industry.  They update their website and as a way of proving their quality to their potential clients.  …why aren’t you?
  • Responsive:  What is RESPONSIVE?  When a website is responsive, it automatically adjusts and aligns to the screen size of your viewer.  A majority of online shopping and browsing is done on mobile sources: smart phones and tablets.  If your website isn’t viewing correctly on your reader’s screen, how long do you expect them to stay on your webpage?  As of 2014, a website getting a responsive update isn’t just a perk…it’s quickly becoming a necessity.  As the internet speeds get faster, viewers’ patience levels get shorter.  They want immediate gratification, which leaves no time for a website to look or act outdated.

Even Forbes says so.  And they said it a while ago…  Click to read “Why your business needs a responsive website before 2014″ 

Yes, a responsive website update is important. It’s easier than you think to give your website a responsive upgrade.  And it’s easier than you think to keep your content relevant.  Check your website every month.  Keep an eye on social media within your industry and by actively blogging about industry-related topics, your site will be scanned more often.  Blogs are a great opportunity for keywords and for visitors to return to your site to see what’s new!

Take home message: Yes, get a responsive website update.  Yes, it’s important.  You can’t compete unless you’re in the competition, and this is how today’s game is played.

 

Is your website Google Preferred?

Google-Preferred: Google Gives Responsive Websites Preference in Search Rankings

Is your website mobile-friendly? Is it designed with responsive programming?  If not, you should be prepared for if your website ranking plummets on Google search results. “Mobilegeddon” is here.

Google makes a lot of tweaks to their algorithms, but announces very few. On April 21st, 2015, Google announced that websites that are not mobile-friendly will suffer in ranking and page placement. Their new algorithms admittedly prefer websites that look and perform accurately on mobile devices: Smart Phones and Tablets.

This means more than having your pages be mobile-optimized. It means needing improved readability, responsive programming, and avoiding the use of non-mobile friendly software, such as Flash.  CLICK HERE to take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Website Test. 

Unsure of how to make your current website Google Preferred? Call Downtown Design today to see about getting your website on Google’s good side.

Is your website outdated?

Downtown-Website-Anoka-Minneapolis-Blaine-Coon-Rapids-Website-Design_Mobile

Now is a great time to upgrade! Here are some of the features that are included in our new websites:
  • Responsive – ONE site for desktop & mobile
  • Easier editing capabilities
  • Advanced, interactive HTML5 (no flash) slideshows
  • Parallax scrolling & widescreen images
  • Endless added plug-ins available