Looking Ahead: Cybersecurity Trends in 2018 You Need to Watch Out For

It’s safe to say 2017 was a challenging year for cybersecurity. Last year saw a large number of high-profile cyberattacks to companies such as Uber, Equifax and Deloitte, and don’t forget the notorious WannaCry ransomware attack.

Despite the relentless flow of various security patches and updates, these attacks continue to go haywire. We are led to ask ourselves, what’s in store for 2018? Will this year be better or will it be worse than 2017?

Let’s look ahead and see the upcoming cybersecurity trends and predictions in cybersecurity for 2018.

cybersecurity trends

Increase in sandbox-evading malware

We have witnessed the growth of sandboxing technology in recent years as it became one of the popular methods used to detect and prevent malware infections. However, just like any virus, cybercriminals too evolve or mutate, whichever is applicable, and find more ways of evading this technology.

For example, new malware strains have the capability of recognising when they will execute a malicious code. These new strains can recognise if they’re inside the sandbox, and if they are, they wait until the moment they’re outside the sandbox and wreak havoc.

cybersecurity trends

AI/ML-powered attacks

The uprising of machine learning (ML)/AI software is upon us.

AI “learns” from the consequences of previous events and uses that to predict and then identify future cybersecurity threats. In fact, according to a Webroot report, roughly 87% of cybersecurity professionals in the United States use AI.

However, AI could prove to be a double-edged sword. A great number of security authorities are concerned that AI could be used to launch more sophisticated cyberattacks, such as assisting hackers in narrowing down passwords based on demographics and geography and other significant factors.

AI could also be used to automate the collection of certain data, which could be related to particular organisations. These could be sourced from code repositories, support forums and social media platforms.

cybersecurity trends

Internet of Things (IoT) Ransomware

Although ransomware has been around for some time, IoT ransomware is relatively new. As it stands, the threat of IoT ransomware is more serious than we previously thought, yet this has not received much attention.

This is understandable since most IoT devices do not usually store valuable information. You see, as its name implies, ransomware is a malware breed that encrypts your files so you can’t access them. Then, it sells you the decryption key so that you have access to your valuable data.

However, even if the devices will be infected and then encrypted, it is not likely that someone would actually pay the “ransom” just so they could access their files. Additionally, developing ransomware for IoT devices would seem cost-effective since the number of potential victims would be significantly low.

Yet the threat is still there, and it’s serious. You can never be too careful nor underestimate its potential to wreak havoc on IoT devices.

For example, hackers could potentially target smart cars, factory lines or home appliances or other critical systems like power grids. When the victim or victims fail to pay the ransom, they may choose to cause relatively irreversible damage.

cybersecurity trends

Failure of companies to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you haven’t heard, the GDPR will come into effect on May 25, 2018. Now, what does this mean?

The GDPR offers a number of vital changes to the existing Data Protection Directive, from stricter consent laws, improved territorial scope to elevated rights for data subjects. Fines for non-compliance will be imposed and could reach to around 4% of yearly worldwide turnover or €20m, whichever is greater.

cybersecurity trends

Increasing number of state-sponsored attacks

Perhaps one of the most concerning areas of cybersecurity is the rise of state-sponsored ones. Typically, these attacks are politically motivated and are more than pure financial gain.

State-sponsored attacks are often elaborately designed to acquire vital information regarding one party that the other can use to further their objectives. In fact, these attacks can be used to manipulate public opinion by targeting electronic voting systems.

These well-funded sophisticated attacks have the potential to be extremely disruptive. The most notorious for unleashing such attacks include Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Israel and even the United States.

Given the level of finance backing these attacks and the expertise to concoct such sophisticated programming, protection may prove difficult, if not challenging. Hence, governments must make sure their respective internal networks are particularly isolated from the Internet. Also, extensive security checks must also be carried out on all of its staff.

Final Thoughts

Generally looking toward 2018, it is without question that these cyberattacks will be more elaborate and bigger. It goes to say that breached data will definitely be more valuable than ever.

However, there’s still ample time to prepare for whatever cyber attackers are planning. One thing is certain, continue to put emphasis on cybersecurity and raise awareness about these cybersecurity trends. It has to start somewhere.

web design

8 Steps to Making an Engaging Digital Experience

For you to be effective and succeed in the cut-throat e-commerce industry, your web design should, and must, be multifunctional. This about it as a house—it needs a strong foundation, has to protect its inhabitants from the harsh elements brought about by outside factors, must provide a comfortable living space, must provide ample storage, and also must meet the basic needs, among others.

In other words, your e-commerce website needs to be designed to lift user engagement, improve user experience and acquisition and also help retain consumers.

It’s a marriage between psychology and science to create an artistic way of building your empire. To create an engaging and interactive user experience, your team must focus on varying elements that target directly your audience.

Below are 8 steps to help you refine the user experience of your users.

web design

Put emphasis on user types, not on buyer personas

Buyer personas have been specifically designed to align with ad copy and marketing messages.

For example, you don’t have to know exactly what “customer Danny” particularly wants or likes or what his pain points are in order to create the ideal UX.

However, you need to know your target user types and how they shop or browse your e-commerce site, what type of device they use and how they use or what they think of your products. Create your engaging web design based on those user types segments instead of the buyer personas.

Design your site with Fisher-Price in mind

When refining UX, design your site with large, simplified elements, clear copy and actionable directions that even a child can easily understand. In other words, you should aim for something that seems like the user is interacting with life-size Fisher-Price toys.

This works perfectly well with any other device, specifically with mobile experience where larger design elements make for easy navigation.

web design

Create a simplified experience

Contrary to what many believe, you should embrace white space and make sure your interface is kept clean, simple and direct to the point. But you must remember to keep users feel engaged immediately.

You should make them feel that they’re invited to fully explore your website and discover on their own your best-sellers, your seasonal products and what basically your business has to offer. What you need to avoid is making them feel that they’re forced into doing something or having them play hide-and-seek because of the cluttered design elements with too many options.

Sometimes, simplicity is always key.

Your feelings aren’t always spot on

Just because you feel, or think, your site looks good and has somewhat passed when put through its paces in a test environment doesn’t mean that it has attained perfection. How your team of professional and skilled designers view the UX might be far-fetched than what the actual customer would see or feel your design for the very first time.

Hence, you need to test the experience, always, with outsiders. In fact, there a hundreds of services online that you can use to test the UX of your sites with actual, real, customers.

Their responses, comments and activities will be recorded as they interact with your site or app. Then, you can review their feedback and make the necessary changes in order to improve UX.

Design with a limited real estate in mind

Every time you create a new UX for your consumers, make sure to consider how it would look or function on mobile. It should be mobile-friendly and make navigation as smooth as possible for users without having them zooming in and out.

To guarantee a better UX, design for mobile use first to ensure compatibility and a more overall engaging and successful UX.

web design

Don’t forget to integrate social

Social proofing your site goes a long way at improving conversions and engagement with prospective users or consumers. By doing so, you’re making it easier for your target audience to promote your products, interact with other consumers and also possibly contribute content such as reviews and their thoughts.

Include customisation features

Users will feel more at home with your site by personalising their UX. It will also make the experience more engaging.

Offer customisation options where users could choose, say, their page’s layout or pick out specific dashboard elements if you have an online community. This will encourage them to come back to “their own space” in your brand.

web design

Provide a personalised experience

Directly ask consumers their feedback while they’re still on your site. This will make them feel valuable.

How? 

Consider an exit intent survey asking them to answer a few short questions about their experience with your site. Then, use these data to further improve UX and increase your consumer pool.

Final thoughts

People, in general, are engaged in different ways, with some responding to certain types of experiences or content. It’s up to you tailor consumer needs and match it with your products. You need to understand your target audience.

Above all, always Test . . . Test . . . and test some more to have the perfect and successful web design that adheres to improving UX.

web design

5 Business-Changing Elements That Should Be in Your E-commerce Web Design

 

Oftentimes, we are too invested at raising our Google search results ranking that we sometimes forget the most vital part of why we opened an e-commerce or any business in the first place—satisfying and serving the customers.

Although online advertising, Internet marketing and SEO are essential for an online business to grow, these must always go hand-in-hand with a flawless web operation, friendly user interface, uncomplicated web design and worry-free customer care. We must also put forth a need to make sure customers’ demands are met and that they would for sure come back for more.

So, here’s a list of business-changing features that you need to incorporate into your web design:

 

web design

Best Sellers

Why do you go into a shop? Well, we’re mostly interested in what the store has to offer, especially when we see the 4-letter word in red flashing in the window—SALE!

In other words, it all begins in the shop window.

Of course, it’s the same thing for e-commerce business. Your website must also display your best products, your top sellers or best sellers or featured products, on your main page.

These products typically attract a lot of the visitor’s attention. In fact, these are often the most viewed items on e-commerce websites.

Let’s admit it. Sometimes, we’re too lazy to scan hundreds, if not thousands, of products. We want to simply get it over with and finalise the purchase.

Hence, place your best products on the landing page or the homepage.

Why?

You’ll be helping visitors make the right choice. Plus, this speeds up the buying process and would lead them to actually make a purchase even before they get frustrated and exit the site.

TIP: You need to remember to monitor and regularly update your list. You can also experiment with seasonal and monthly top products or bestsellers.

Customer’s Names

Did you know that the most pleasant word marketers like using are not “success”, “conversions”, “trust” or “respect”?

Surprised?

It’s your name! According to psychologists, we love being addressed by our names because it has a strong correlation with being in a friendly nature.

Notice why sales manager or sales personnel ask your name and then use it multiples times during the conversation, especially when he or she is trying to make a point or a sale?

Successful e-commerce businesses make use personalisation very well since it’s the easiest way of making customers feel important and special.

TIP: If you opt for a quick personal account registration, make sure to ask the visitor his or her name.

Why?

It’s quick compared with uploading images or entering other personal details, which takes some time.

It’s efficient because you can sue their name to personalise their dashboard, making them feel right at home. This is still something many e-commerce sites fail to consider.

It’s worry-free since many consider that this isn’t sharing too sensitive information.

Use their name wisely and sparsely. Don’t be too obtrusive. You can use their names in newsletters or when greeting them upon login. Never place their names in every line on your site. You’ll sound like a pushy sales marketer.

Price Filters

One of the most often used tools in e-commerce web pages other than the search bar is the price filter. That’s why need more attention.

Make sure visitors and customers alike would be able to easily sort and then filter products according to price in all product categories.

TIP: If the price of specific products doesn’t include the shipping costs, then make sure to include that in the product information. Meanwhile, if products which fall under Free Delivery, make sure that a checkbox is placed to either show or hide products in that category.

One simple reason consumers will trust your business is transparency. Do not hide any information regarding product pricing.

The more comfortable your visitors or customers feel in your site, the more they are to find what they want, purchase it and then come back, possibly with friends.

web design

The Option to Zoom In

We all want a closer look at products we want to buy, especially online. Buyers want to see almost every detail of whatever item they buy, be it clothing, especially gadgets, shoes, etc.

Hence, allow them to zoom in or out of the pictures. That’s why you need good-quality pictures for every product in your store. Provide as much visual information to the customers as possible.

web design

Feedback Forms and Contact Details

The key to having loyal customers is building long-term relationships with them. You want them to completely trust you. Where to start?

Provide your business’ contact information. Your customers should know how to reach you if needed. Place this detail where it can easily be accessed.

If there’s an online chat feature on your website, then the better. Nothing is better than a fast response to inquiries.

Then, provide a feedback form and make sure to address the information given by your customers.

Summary

Every e-commerce website is unique, and there is no single formula for success or a solution to the challenges faced by this particular industry. You need to understand what your business needs.

Just remember the basic must-have features that you need to incorporate into your web design. Just remember these simple rules to improve UX:

  1. Design should be simple so that customers will be comfortable.
  2. Navigation should be clear with an easily accessible information.
  3. Provide a detailed information of every product, with high-quality pictures, zoom options and descriptions. The more satisfied with the information, the higher the chances of them buying your product.
  4. Provide a personal page for the customers, where they can create wishlists, save previous orders and save items in the cart for later viewing.
  5. Provide clear and complete details on delivery options.
  6. Don’t forget to update your site so that customers would want to come back and check if there are sales or promos.

Above all, have fun with your business!
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mobile responsive

Tips on Optimising Your Blog for Mobile Responsiveness (And Why You Should)

 

You’re reading this because you’ve noticed a decline in your site’s organic web traffic. Perhaps, you’re still using the same old web design you had when you first launched your site.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but a bad website design could be causing more harm than good—that is, losing web traffic. As you know, Google has changed recently its search algorithm.

Why?

Simply to boost the rankings of mobile-friendly websites. And also, Google wants to punish desktop-only sites.

This simply means if your site isn’t optimised to meet the mobile responsive standards set by Google, then your business might be jeopardy.

It’s time to make some changes and turn things around—boost those rankings!

How?

Start by optimising your website. And here’s how:

The Future and Mobile

Think about this for a second:

What do a park, bus, restaurant, libraries, shopping malls and the dinner table all have in common?

Well, if your answer is:

Everyone either sitting, standing, reading, or walking is looking at their smartphone or tablets.

Then, good observation skills!

The point is—mobile usage is taking over (if it already hasn’t). In fact, it will continue to skyrocket especially now that phones are getting larger screens, built with AI capability and feature more robust hardware.

In fact, these mobile devices have surpassed desktop units for more Internet use. Wow! If that isn’t a clue enough, then what is?

Give or take a few more years, smartphones and tablets will take over web browsing. So it’s better to take action now than try to save your business by then.

Either Beat or Catch up with Competition

According to reports, 62% of companies worldwide who have a mobile-first website have seen an increase in sales compared with desktop-only sites. As you may know, this isn’t much of a surprise since 52% of users admit that they prefer engaging with mobile responsive websites.

In other words, by making your website mobile-friendly, you’ll be better equipped to catch up or even beat the competition and possibly rank higher in Google search results pages.

You need to prove the world that you mean business by being more innovative and thus increasing profit from your business.

A Higher Rank in Google

As previously mentioned, Google boosts the rankings of mobile-friendly websites. If a user googles a particular thing online, for example, web design London, Google will automatically show mobile-responsive sites higher than desktop-only sites.

You should know that Google rolled out its new algorithm last May 2016. If your organic web traffic has plummeted since then, perhaps the culprit is your website.

It’s high time to optimise your website so that you’ll be able to recover the lost traffic and in the process rank better on Google SERPs.

How to Make Your Site More Mobile-Responsive

First thing’s first—test your website first to find out which parts you need to improve or fix. Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a tool you can use to check how a visitor can use your page using a mobile device. Also offered are tips on how to improve your website for mobile devices.

mobile responsiveness

Google Analytics is another tool you can use to check which mobile devices your visitors frequently use to visit your site. This allows you to better optimise for specific mobile screens based on that data.

Tip 1: Optimising for Touch Screens

You may have noticed, but the single biggest difference between a desktop and a mobile device is the mode of interaction. Where a mouse or a touchpad is used on a desktop, users use their fingertips to swipe and zoom on mobile devices.

You need to consider that a responsive site isn’t enough—it must also be optimised for touch screens, offering greater UX. Include touchscreen navigation as well.

mobile responsive

Tip 2: Increase Site Load Speed

People are on the go. We are on the go. This fast-paced world we live in demands web pages to load as quickly as possible. Faster loading speeds can increase conversions and could decrease bounce rates. This means slow load speeds will lead your visitors to your competitors. Who wants that?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Reduce the images. Large format images can tremendously slow download times. Check your site which images you can get rid of—only unnecessary ones. Then conduct an a/b testing with and without those images to find out if it makes any difference.

If the images will need to stay, then optimise them for mobile usage.

  • Optimise plugins and themes. Even if everything else is optimised, a bottleneck phenomenon could still happen on your site speed because of bad plugin and theme code. Additionally, concatenate and minify plugin CSS and JS files.

Tip 3: The Right Font Size

Wouldn’t it be easy to read blog posts in the right font size, without having to zoom in and out, on a mobile device? The incorrect font size, where you need to badly zoom in to read a text, will definitely ruin UX.

To remedy this, configure a viewport to ensure the fonts are rendered to the correct sizes on varying mobile screens. Although this is a relatively simple process, some CSS skills might be needed to get this done.

Tip 4: Use a Better Theme

If you’re using WP, you might want to upgrade to a better theme, if you haven’t already. Opt for WP themes that have mobile-friendly designs. Replace the old theme of your site.

Viola!

You’re done.

If not, you can always utilise a plugin in order to optimise your site for mobile devices, although this isn’t a highly recommended method since this will make your site load a bit slower. It’s an ideal temporary fix, however.

Tip 5: Implement AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)—an open-source website designed to improve web content and ad performance. In other words, it offers a smooth browsing experience for mobile device users.

Once implemented, AMP generates an optimised version of your page that, in split seconds, can be viewed on mobile devices.

Not only will your site load faster, but also AMP-powered sites are ranked higher by Google on mobile search results pages.

AMP can be implemented on your site using a free WP plugin. Note the keyword here—FREE.

Final Thoughts

Continually test your site until you arrive on the perfect mobile responsive web design that will not only improve UX but also increase conversions, drive traffic to your page and boost Google rankings. It’s basically up to you!

What are you waiting for?
View Our Mobile Responsive Methods

 

content marketing

How SEO and Content Marketing Affects Your Business

 

As the age of digital marketing industry grows, content marketing and search engine optimization are becoming more and more interconnected.

It’s no secret that these two complements each other well. SEO helps users discover information and connect with your brand, while content marketing guarantees that you provide engaging and relevant information that is tailored to draw in conversion.

Just as content marketing alone is not enough to guarantee results and performance, SEO is also not enough to guarantee content quality and relevance— but when used together, the success rate will definitely increase.

Search Engine Optimization

Despite the advancement of today’s search engine algorithms, they still don’t process information in the same way that people do. That’s why you have to make it easier for various search engines to recognize every piece of content that you publish on your site.

Additionally, content marketers must learn and follow the best practices of SEO, in order to avoid causing duplicate content and other technical errors. These are just some of the many issues that can gravely impact content performance, driving down conversions, site traffic, and revenue.

Content Marketing London

Content Marketing

Nowadays, customers are taking charge and they hold more power than ever before. To meet the customer’s standard and demand, it’s up to brands to be noticeable and persuasive enough.

Quality content is the key to building these important relationships. Essentially, it should be your goal to let your content invoke emotions and inspire readers to think deeply. As much as people like to think that their choices are solely based on concrete facts and logic, emotions are still a big part of their decision-making. That is why creating stories that resonate with your target audience is vital to content engagement.

Here are some important tips that most website creators, SEO, and web designers recommend:

I. Make use of your SEO data.

Analyse how your customers engage with your content and identify what generates involvement and good results. You must also modify and optimize your content along the way. If necessary changes must be made in order to boost your conversion, then definitely go for it.

Content Marketing London

 

II. Think about your customers.

Think about how your customers (as well as potential customers) engage with various types of content. Understand conversion as customers move between various devices (tablets, smartphones, and desktops), and structure your content accordingly.

III. Ongoing customer analysis.

Trends come and go, so knowing what your customers are currently interested in is very essential. Observe and gather insights to keep up with the ever growing trends.

IV. Set concrete and realistic goals.

Having something to look forward to is vital; whether it’s to drive rankings, organic search traffic, conversions, social engagement, or even revenue.

SEO is important to maximizing the usefulness of your content. It should be your goal to let the right audience find various content that is relevant to them, and for that specific content to drive conversion and business results.

Combining content marketing and search engine optimization into one function produces quality content. Lastly, continually develop and adjust your tactics, because what works today might not work next year— or even next month. It’s up to you to make it all happen.
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Content Marketing

Important Tips On Producing Quality Content

 

We all know that having an amazing content is very important when you want to succeed in today’s digital marketing— particularly when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). However, the problem for most people is finding enough time to actually create them.

Most of you are probably busy running your business that producing quality content might be hard to do. Don’t worry though; here are some techniques to help you become efficient at producing tons of great quality content. Aside from that, these things will also aid in generating organic search traffic for your site.

Planning Ahead of Time

If you want to seamlessly produce a ton of quality content, then you’ll need to plan it out. Sorry to say but, not all people can work better under pressure. So here’s what you should do:

I. Start by identifying your strategic goals
II. Find out the best methods to achieve those goals
III. Plan and schedule your content for the next 6 to 12 months

Now, some people might think that this kind of technique could muffle their creativity— but as a matter of fact, it allows you get into a new flow state which helps you come up with even more ideas. Also, if you ever come up with new creative ideas along the way, you can easily insert those into your current work-flow or save it for later use.

Most web designers use this particular technique, so they would have enough time to organize everything without having to do them by the last minute. Remember, having an organized system is important when building your brand.

Content Marketing

The Phases Of Content Production

Speaking of new flow state, you can utilize the same principle when producing your content. A lot of website owners have the tendency to edit while writing, but that’s an awfully ineffective way to produce content. It would be better to divide it into three phases:

1. Outlining
2. Producing
3. Editing

Outlining

Many writers find it easier to compose when they first create an outline. Those rough concept floating around in your head can then be turned into an organized document before you begin to write. This technique helps keep your thoughts on track and it also decreases the energy and time needed for a single post.

Producing

After which, you can now begin expounding the concepts you thought about earlier— but resist the urge to edit as you go. Disregard all typos and even those poorly structured sentences for now; you can deal with them later. Once you’ve completed the body, go back and write the intro and the conclusion. Writing these at the very end means they will be more cohesive and will go on more smoothly.

Content marketing

Editing

At last, it is now time to edit your post. Ideally, you should be doing this part after taking a quick break. Allowing enough time before editing actually clears out your mind from the things you just wrote down. By doing so, you can easily point out the grammatical errors and typos.

Collaboration Is Important

This method can be applied to all types of content, and it also helps cut down your workload. It also acts as an exposure for your collaborators, so it’s really a win-win situation. Here are some examples of collaborative content:

a) quotes
b) interviews
c) point/counterpoint

Don’t forget to include linking your collaborators’ social profiles, as well as their respective websites. Do this properly and your collaborators will likely be eager to work with you again and share your content with their own set of audience. Again, a win-win situation.

content marketing

Re-purpose Your Content

That popular blog post you wrote from before doesn’t have to stay that way— you can always re-purpose it into a podcast or a video, or even rewrite it as a guest post on other websites. The key here is to make it unique every time and customize it to appeal the audience of the publication or the site where it will be appearing.

Producing quality content is hard enough, but creating tons of quality content on a regular basis can be consuming and overwhelming for most marketers. Try out these helpful tips to accomplish your content creation goals for this year!
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