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Everything You Need To Know About Website Security

In a world with millions – perhaps billions – of websites, small business shouldn’t have to worry about website security, right? It should only be big companies like Walmart and Microsoft that need to worry about hacks. After all, they’re the ones with all that sensitive information to steal… why would anyone bother with a local business’ website?

Truth is, hackers don’t discriminate. Hackers don’t spend hours looking for the perfect site to break into. Hackers don’t care if you’re a tree care business, a lawyer, or a restaurant. Hackers don’t care how much traffic you have on your website…

In a world with millions of websites, no website is special, and every website is a target. That means that proper website security is paramount for any and every website.

Why Hack?

Outside of Bruce Willis movies, hacking – and basically everything else – is pretty mundane. Instead of finding the few lines of computer code that can somehow shut down infrastructure, most hacks are about spreading viruses, most of which are used to capture sensitive information. It’s a bit like crowd-sourcing; instead of trying to break through the security that companies like Walmart pay entire teams to maintain, hackers gather information slowly from a lot of sites.

Why? There are many reasons, but the most common are for spam, using a server as a proxy, and to spread viruses.

Spam: Many hacks are trying to access the server your website is hosted on so it can be used to send spam emails. Hackers can usually send thousands of emails before hosting companies notice. This has the added danger of your server potentially being flagged by other email servers as a dangerous or illegitimate source. This can lead to emails from your domain always going to spam, or being outright rejected by many mail servers, including Google.

With so many email servers and services, once your domain or server is flagged, it can be a truly daunting task to restore your server’s reputation.

Proxies: Sometimes all hackers want is to use a little bit of your server’s power, or to use your server to mask their identity while performing other – sometimes illegal – tasks.

Viruses: Your website may be hacked and used to spread viruses. Once these viruses infect visitors to your site, they can be used to collect information like internet passwords, credit card numbers, and more.

At the end of the day, most hacking is used to gather sensitive information, or make money – a hacker who can distribute a lot of spam will sell that distribution for profit. All the while, everything that a hacker does will drive your website’s reputation down, hurting search rankings, and potentially your reputation with customers and clients. If a customer sees a Malware warning when they visit your site, they might think twice about doing business with you. In an age when an online presence is all but required, website security can make or break a business.

How Do They Hack?

There are a few ways to hack into a website or server, but we’ll focus on the two most common: exploiting old and outdated software, and exploiting poor security.

Exploiting Old Software: If there’s a will there’s a way, and if there’s a technology that a lot of people are using, there’s someone trying to find its vulnerabilities. With 46% of all websites now built on WordPress, it’s a pretty obvious target for hackers. Many hacks will focus on sites that have outdated versions of software that they have found a way to exploit.

Exploiting Poor Security: Weak passwords and standard usernames on websites can spell serious trouble. If a hacker can gain access to a website as an administrator, they have almost full control over it.

Most hacks and website security issues are due to a lack of diligence. If a website’s software is kept up-to-date, and proper precautions with usernames and passwords are taken, the risks of hacking are dramatically lowered.

DogCat Measures

When we build a site for any client, we build it with a eye on website security. We take the necessary precautions to ensure that when a website is launched, it has ample protection.

Premium Themes and Plugins: We only use tried and true WordPress themes, purchased from reputable sources. We carefully review their download history, user ratings, and the frequency of their updates. The same goes for plugins – we carefully vet the programs and software we use, keeping an eye out for possible vulnerabilities.

User Roles & Two-Factor Authentification: Weak passwords and usernames are a major concern. For every website we require a unique username and a 32-character alphanumeric password for any user that has administrator access. For eCommerce and other high-traffic sites, we employ two-factor authentication for administrators.

Backups & Security: Even if you do everything right, sometimes website security can be breached. That’s why we install a security plugin that scans our websites, and alerts us to any major problems, allowing us to act swiftly when there is an issue. We can also access site backups to start from a clean slate if anything slips through the cracks.

Website Security Maintenance

With as many security features built in as possible, DogCat Marketing websites start with the right footing. However, without maintenance, the software on these sites becomes vulnerable to attacks. Consistent upkeep and updates are required to keep a website secure.

At DogCat Marketing, we offer a monthly service that will keep your site up to date and safe from most attacks. It’s almost ridiculously inexpensive. Get in touch today to find out more about protecting your investment in your online presence.


Building A Website Painlessly – DogCat Marketing

Building a website painlessly isn’t easy. Chances are you don’t want to pay $25,000 or more for your web design – at least, as a small or medium business.

But here’s the kicker – you may not really know how to actually get your needs met, without paying a fortune.

You’re probably not a writer. Or a designer. Or a developer. You may not have time to run around chasing down social media opportunities or figuring out how to link all your accounts together. You may not know how to select the hosting and URL package that’s best for you, or how to get information onto it once you do. And even if you do all of that, there’s a huge reality gap between having an integrated online presence, and actually getting business from it.

DogCat Marketing solves those problems.

Our process is simple. We discuss what you need from your web identity through an initial meeting or two about your business, your skills, your competition, and what differentiates you from others in your field. We help you identify the key selling propositions online – they may not be exactly the same as they are offline – and we’ll take over building a website from there.

We’ll start with a site plan, a set of key messages, and a way to deliver those messages both actively (search engine optimization, third-party marketing, push marketing through social media, paid ads, virality and so on) and passively (through your central hub, your website).

The copy, keywords, and sales pitch are written by someone who has won dozens of awards, and created millions and millions of dollars in sales – one email alone brought in over $650,000.

Then we’ll claim your online presence where necessary – Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more – and literally put your business on the Google Map.

Best of all, once the initial development phase is complete, we’ll work with you to teach you to manage your own site with the minimum of fuss, so that as your business develops, so does your online presence. Of course, if you really WANT to pay us to manage your online business, we won’t say no. But we think you deserve the option of building a website for the future.

Over a period of time you’ll see your business rising in the search rankings… sending new customers your way… and adding enormous credibility and retention value to your existing business.

In short, it doesn’t matter if you know nothing about web development. We’ll get you where you need to be – quickly, simply, and inexpensively.

Building a website painlessly isn’t impossible, it’s just a matter of choosing the right firm.

Perhaps you can understand that a monthly support fee is important – something that makes sure that your site is updated and secured against hacking attacks every time a new version of the software comes out. Other companies will charge $500 or more for that service: we charge $65 per month.

Call us today at (720) 588-2007 for a free initial consultation. You might be surprised at how affordable we can be.

The Value Of Exceptional Copywriting

The first question that many people ask when they contact us to discuss a new marketing project isn’t about copywriting: it’s “What will it look like?”

But think of your marketing project as someone you meet online for a date. If they’re attractive you might have coffee with them a few times, maybe even drinks. But if their conversation is entirely about their ex-girlfriend, their monster truck or their recovery from alcoholism, chances are you’re going to call it quits pretty quickly.

In other words, looks aren’t everything.

Your copy is your website’s personality.

Copywriting is what engages your customers in a long-term relationship with you.

At DogCat Marketing in Longmont, developing the message and delivering it through compelling, actionable copy is something of a specialty.

Our founder is a genuinely world-class copywriter. Ex-Creative Director of several large advertising agencies, he has won awards such as the UK Business to Business Ad of the Year, and has been the lead writer on brands such as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Microsoft in Europe, Pizza Hut, Guinness and Aspen Skiing Company.

Copywriting of that quality doesn’t come cheap. One freelance infomercial from his laptop used to cost his clients upwards of $20,000. Plus a percentage of sales. (Before he realized that writing infomercials made him a soulless monster whose only worth in life was measured in email opens.)

You get his copywriting services included when you work with DogCat Marketing.

That means that your blog posts look as though they’re written for humans… even though every word is chosen to give Google a good reason to index you. It means your home page has a call to action, and a reason to act. It means that your small business gets the same loving wordplay that international banking conglomerates have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to access.

It means that the social media contagious content marketing strategies that we employ reflect your brand and the real people who are behind it. Instead of sounding like a corporate shill, you’ll be able to express yourself as a member of the community – they may be our words, but it’s your philosophy that comes through in our work.

Copywriting is key to the success of a great marketing campaign. Which is why it pays to work with people who have done it for 25 years, and who know that superior writing is persuasive, engaging, and memorable.

Oooh! Oooh! That’s us!


The 80-20 Rule Of Business

The Pareto Principle, or 80-20 Rule, is well-known to business owners, in practice if not in theory. Simply put, a management consultant named Joseph Juran noticed that an Italian, Vilfredo Pareto, appeared to have stumbled on a fundamental rule of economics in 1896 when he published a paper on the distribution of wealth – noting that in many countries, 20% of the population owned approximately 80% of the land.

Over the years, entrepreneurs and business owners have claimed to see the same 80-20 rule emerge in many aspects of commerce; among other phenomena, it is claimed that:

  • 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
  • 80% of a company’s complaints come from 20% of its customers
  • 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its products
  • 80% of a company’s sales are made by 20% of its sales staff*

All of this seems to point directly to a fairly straightforward conclusion: get rid of the 20% of clients who are time-sinks, and focus more on the others.

But consider this: when you remove the 20% who take up most of your time, someone else falls to the bottom of that barrel. And that client starts eating up your time. So you get rid of them… and the next one… and pretty soon, you have no clients left.

The reason that this simple 80-20 rule exists is because it has to. Natural phenomena are just that – natural. It is in the nature of business that some clients are harder to deal with than others. If you pick and choose your clients based on their ‘fairness’ with your time, then you’ll have to do one of two things – either charge them for every single moment (as an attorney does) or refuse to work with clients who might conceivably have substantial time requirements.

It is a constant struggle here at DogCat Marketing to make sure that the 80-20 rule doesn’t overtake the duty of care we owe to each of our clients. Like any other business, we have clients that are more demanding, and those that are less. And like many of our friends in business, we do indeed find that certain clients threaten to overwhelm us with their calls for us to go above and beyond the call of duty.

But we feel strongly that each client has something to offer beyond the pure and objective measurement of time vs. money. Some will refer us to friends and associates – perhaps those are the clients with whom we have spent more time and built a closer relationship. Some will remember us better, purely because our faces were in front of them more often, and will come back in the future. And some – well, we just like spending time with some of our clients.

The 80-20 rule seems to have an obvious solution.

But a deeper analysis suggests to us that seeing value in every one of our clients will be more successful in the long-run, from both financial and personal perspectives.

In other words, don’t worry too much if you need a little extra TLC from us when we’re working together. We won’t hold that against you.


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