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Battle of the browsers: which one is the reigning champion?

By Alex J | Friday, 26 August 2016
Ever since Google launched Chrome back in 2008, it has become the most trusted web browser. Howeve...

Battle of the browsers: which one is the reigning champion?

By Alex J | Friday, 26 August 2016

Ever since Google launched Chrome back in 2008, it has become the most trusted web browser. However, Firefox, Safari, and Opera have implemented their own updates to catch up. Even Microsoft introduced a new and improved browser for Windows 10, namely Microsoft Edge. But out of all these browsers, which one holds the accolade of best browser?

In order to find out, it helps to assess them according to the following metrics:

Installation:

All of the mentioned browsers can easily be downloaded from their respective websites. However, in some gadgets, a select few are already installed. A perfect example is Safari. No matter what the Apple gadget is, you can be assured that it already has Safari.

OS Compatibility:

Apple's Safari and Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge were specifically built for Mac OS and Windows respectively. So far, creators of these browsers have not programmed them to be compatible with the other OS. As for the rest of the browsers, they can all be opened with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.

Functionality:

This is where the competition starts to get tight. Obviously, all of the major browsers are able to perform their most basic functions, viewing and accessing sites on the World Wide Web. But the tools, features, and interface are what really makes one of them stand out.

Here's a rundown of each browser's unique qualities:

(Note: For this article, we will only tackle the leading browsers.)

Google Chrome

SPDY Support

SPDY is a networking protocol invented by Google that transports web content and manipulates HTTP traffic in a faster and more secure way. This is achieved through data compression, multiplexing, and prioritization. This tool enables pages load much faster.

Separate Tab Processes

Chrome excels in isolating the processes of each tab to the point where they are almost like separate windows. The programming for this function relies on the OS to single out which tabs are not functioning properly and make sure it doesn't affect the performance of the browser. As a result, this function has made Chrome one of the most stable browsers.

Firefox. Extensions

Extensions Support

Out of all the browsers, Firefox has one of the most sophisticated Application Programming Interface (API). For those who are not familiar, API is a set of tools, protocol, and definitions for creating new application.

However, for most browsers, their API is only limited to tweaking the code and appearance of a website. What makes Firefox's API unique is its ability to test out new desktop applications just from the browser. For this reason, developers and programmers prefer Firefox.

Smart Bookmarks

This tool groups your bookmarks into three categories, namely Most Visited, Recently Bookmarked, and Recent Tags. This helps you search said pages much faster. Another good thing is you can create your set of categories.

Simply open the Bookmarks Menu and click Organize Bookmarks. From there, select Organize Menu and click the New Bookmark option.

Afterwards, the Add Bookmark window pops up and you just simply type in the name of the new category.

Microsoft Edge

Reading View

This nifty feature allows you to view a page without the ads, comments, widgets, and other distracting features. As a result, the page only displays the text. However, this feature can only be activated on single post pages; this means it can't be used on the homepage of a website. Another downside is that it also hides images.

If you prefer a quick read, then this tool is definitely useful.

New Security Options

This new browser does not support ActiveX, VML, VB and other extensions the creators deem troublesome. It only recognises JavaScript. Website owners using ActiveX will have to code their website with HTML5 if they want their site to display properly on Edge.

Other security tools that the browser boasts is Smartscreen Filter (a tool that notifies users when a site has malware or phishing apps) and improved cookie management.

Safari

Search Snapback

This is a tool that shows you your original search results. This is definitely helpful if you ever forget what keywords you entered.

There are several ways you can use this tool. You can simply click on the orange arrow found on the right side of the search field, or you can use a keyboard shortcut, pressing Command, Option, and S at the same time.

Activity Window

There are some sites that cause your browser to slow down. This can be because there are certain files or information that need to be downloaded, such as images and scripts. If you suspect this is what is slowing down your browser, then you can open Activity Window. It lists down all the sites and indicates the status of each one. From there, you can decide which of them to close.

Opera

Ad Blocker

So far, this is the only browser with an integrated ad blocker (other browsers allow you to install an ad blocker extension). By removing the ads, pages load much faster. This feature indicates the number of ads it blocked on the site you are visiting. Below that, it also displays the total number it blocked within eight days.

Opera Turbo

When your internet connection is slow, it could take you some time to open sites and its corresponding pages. This is especially true in areas with limited signal or with too many users. But Opera boasts that with this browser, you can still search the web. Even better, this allows you to browse 15% faster compared to other browsers. The reason this is possible is because Turbo saves as much as 70% of data.

All of these features make it hard to pinpoint which one is the "best". However, a report from PC Advisor reveals that 52.67% of users still think Google Chrome is the undisputed champion. On the other hand, a review from InfoQ suggests Microsoft Edge is performing better than all the rest, even its predecessor.

The final verdict

Ultimately it's up to you, the user, to determine which browser is best for you. You can try out all of them and explore their features to help you decide which of them you find easier to use.

If you found this useful, or if you have other thoughts to share, please let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.



Why is it necessary to have a mobile-friendly website?

By Alex J | Friday, 19 August 2016

Last week, we covered the strategies of a user-friendly web design, including creating a mobile-friendly site. A lot of major brands are implementing this trick in their own websites, and Google even started penalising websites that are not optimized for mobile devices.

Aside from avoiding punishment from Google, what are the other top reasons to create a mobile-friendly site?

Attract more users

There are more and more mobile users than ever before. This is especially true for online shoppers. According to a report from Fast Company, most impulse buys are usually from tablet users.

But how do you catch their attention in the first place? Often, people prefer information presented to them in a quick and easy format. In other words, make sure that your site is easy to navigate, even on mobile devices. This way, visitors will stay on your site for longer.

Boost your site speed

Mobile gadgets just don't have the same memory and energy capacity as their laptop and desktop counterparts – though they are catching up fast. This means you'll have to minimise the number of files in your site so that it won't take too much time to load on these portable devices.

Because your site isn't too large, this reduces the loading time for your visitors regardless of device.

Improve user engagement

With a mobile-friendly site, you can include more mobile-specific features and tools. For instance, you can include a click-to-call button so that users can immediately get in touch with you whenever necessary.

Another useful feature is a mapping function, this is especially useful if you have a local target audience who can use this tool to find your establishment faster.

Integration with offline media

Unlike laptops and desktop computers, mobile gadgets can be used for reading QR codes. A QR code is a matrix barcode that contains information that can be detected and used by mobile devices.

A perfect example of this is the BirdCodes app from Angry Birds. When the game's movie adaptation was released, creators integrated these codes on specific merchandise. In order to win these items, players must first scan the QR code with the app, before playing customised games to win the merchandise. With the help of these codes, Rovio introduced a more interactive way of playing Angry Birds.

Ultimately, if you choose not to optimise your site, soon it will be obsolete. So it is best to make it more mobile-friendly now while the landscape is still evolving. This leaves you with more time to adjust to trends as they come up.



Tried and tested strategies for user-friendly web designs

By Alex J | Friday, 12 August 2016

Design and layout play an important part in a website. The overall layout should be easy to understand and easy to use for the visitors.

You could say that the graphics go hand in hand with the content. After all, how else would users read your great content if they can’t navigate your website?

In order for your website to stand out, the layout should be customised according to the nature of your business. But no matter how radical the web design, there are still design principles that are best followed. Let’s look at the top tips:

1

Utilise white space wisely

If you’re not familiar, white space is any blank area of the page (Note: it doesn’t necessarily have to be white). This can be used in several ways. A perfect example would be Google’s own homepage. It only contains the search engine’s logo with the search box underneath. Everywhere else is simply vacant space.

In this case, the surrounding white space helps put the focus on the search box and logo. You could also apply this tactic to other parts of the site.

For instance, if you are designing a blog and the color scheme is mostly dark, then you could apply the white space on the articles. This way it will be easier for users to read your content.

2

Insert calls to action in strategic areas

Ideally, these sentences or phrases should be short and simple. To make them more effective, always include a verb. Some examples include “Subscribe now”, “Click here”, or “Sign up.“ Of course, your calls to action should be relevant to your business.

Usually, these words or phrases are placed in buttons. One way to generate more clicks is to incorporate psychological cues. For example, you can induce certain moods with the help of colours. Yellow for optimism, orange for friendliness, red for excitement, purple for creativity, blue for credibility, green for tranquility, and grey for harmony.

This strategy can also be applied to hyperlinks in articles, newsletters, and other relevant content. Wufoo uses this to great effect on their site.

3

Design user-friendly and eye-catching headings

Just like your content, your headings should reflect your company. More importantly, they should answer what your viewers are looking for.

This makes your site more user and search engine friendly. In fact, search engines actually prioritise headings over content.

However, once visitors land on your site, you also have to make sure that they stick around for a while.

Aside from making the headings look presentable, they should also be understandable. Remember, they will help users navigate around your website. A perfect example of this would be from here.

4

Create a mobile-friendly site

These days many people use mobile devices, including tablets, to surf the net. Whether you create an app for your business, or simply make your site responsive so it will adjust to the screen size, accessibility is important. You want users to visit your site however and whenever they choose. Mobile-friendly sites are crucial, and Google has already started penalising those that aren’t. Find out more here.

5

Find the 404 pages

Users find non-existent pages misleading. This is one of the leading causes of high bounce rate. You can detect these pages with the help of Google Webmaster tools. Once you spot these pages, you can either delete them or simply leave a temporary message for your users, saying that the page is still under construction. Follow this link for an example of cool 404 pages.

6

Stick to one theme

There is nothing wrong with switching up the style of each page in your website. However, if each of them look too different from one another, it could throw off and confuse users. Some might even think they accidentally visited another site and decide to leave instantly, which increases the bounce rates. You can switch the color for each page, but it’s best to adhere to one central theme.

These strategies are all designed to be easy to implement, but following these design principles is just one of the crucial steps to retain users.

You still need to provide relevant content in your site. Not only will this make your site user-friendly, but also boost its marketing potential. Great content is very attractive to search engines. If you rank high in Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you could draw in more traffic for your site.

Want more visitors to your site? Check out Crazy Domains’s Traffic Booster and Search Ads solutions to help bolster your business.



Gotta Catch ‘Em All: business lessons you can learn from Pokémon GO

By Alex J | Friday, 5 August 2016

The augmented-reality game, Pokémon GO, is stirring up a storm among gamers everywhere, with people all over the world playing the highly-addictive game.

The company that made it all possible is Niantic, Inc. Before Pokémon GO, the only other game they developed was "Ingress", another augmented-reality game. Formerly part of Google, until it branched out in 2015, Niantic also created FieldTrip, a location-based app that notifies users to unique and cool things.

Both successful on their own, Ingress and FieldTrip didn't reach the same levels as Pokémon GO – but the seeds were clearly being sown.

Not surprisingly, the level of success Pokémon GO has achieved is something that many businesses want to emulate. Even if your company is not as established as Niantic, there are still some things you can learn from the Pokémon-phenomenon.

Read on to find out more.

1

App solutions are all the rage

There are instances when an app is much more convenient than a website. This is especially true if you run a business that is delivery-based because it is more user-friendly. As such, it can potentially improve sales, with IBM Holiday Benchmark Reports recording a 15% increase in traffic on Black Friday from mobile purchases alone.

Creating an app for your business is also useful for your clients, too, allowing them to access your products and services across a variety of gadgets. Through this, you can potentially reach more customers: especially with more people relying on their smart phones.

2

Security still matters

It goes without saying that customers are more likely to trust a company or brand if they feel protected. For example, when they have to reveal sensitive information (e.g. credit card number, account information, personal background), you can take measures to make sure such details remain confidential.

Niantic learned this the hard way when Pokémon GO mistakenly requested users for full access to their Google accounts, alarming various security experts. Since updated, it only requires basic profile information, and the company were quick to reassure fans that no confidential information was compromised.

3

Partnerships with other SMBs or other brands can help attract more customers

Niantic has announced that it will partner with several brands through sponsored locations in Pokémon GO. The idea behind this is that businesses can sign up as sponsors and be registered as "gyms".

These sponsors are charged whenever a player enters their store or headquarters. Although it sounds costly, this move is beneficial to them because it attracts more people to their stores.
If you are thinking about pairing up with another business for a promotional scheme, make sure the move could benefit both your companies. Also, consider teaming with a more established brand to help boost your company's reputation.

4

Brands should be cultivated

One of the reasons the game is successful is because the Pokémon brand already has an established and loyal following. It had humble beginnings as a RPG in Gameboy and eventually expanded in manga, anime, and even toy collectibles.

Cultivating your brand is important so you know what to market. For this to happen, you should know how consumers perceive your business and what sets you apart from your competitors. From there, you can determine how to expand and develop your brand. In the case of Niantic, it first toyed around with their augmented-reality system with Ingress before implementing it on Pokémon GO.

5

Profitable ideas come from almost anywhere

What sets Pokémon GO apart from other games, like Ingress? It caters to players' desire to catch Pokémon for themselves. Through the game, players almost get to experience what it is really like to catch a Pokémon in the real world.

The game's creator, John Hanke, got the idea in 2014 when he was working on Google Maps, and was involved with its now-infamous April Fool's Day prank. Google made an announcement regarding a new training tool that was created in cooperation with Pokémon and Nintendo. The company even went so far as to invite "savvy risk takers" who can "navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures."

This is another reason for the game's success. Although the idea started out as a joke, Hanke took note of people's reaction and decided to capitalise on it. If you are stumped with what to sell or offer, you could take a cue from Pokémon GO's creators and cash in on something that started out as unintentional. The point is to think outside the box.

Even though your business might not reach the same level of popularity as Pokémon GO you can still achieve success as long as you follow these tips.



Top tools for Wordpress development and site maintenance

By Alex J | Friday, 29 July 2016

Of all the content management systems, Wordpress is one the most user-friendly. One reason for this is a navigation system that is easy to understand.

Like all content management systems, Wordpress Dashboard has a default setting. In order to make your site unique, you will have to rely on other plugins, widgets, extensions, and other tools to improve its functionality.

But don’t rush in downloading all the tools at once. Otherwise, you might risk messing up the functionality of your site. To help you develop your website, here are a few tools you can use:

For developing a site:

Monster Widget

The purpose of this widget is to help users manage all default widgets in Wordpress (Archives List, Calendar, Pages, and Recent Comments are just a few of them). Combining all the core widgets into one, it gets a lot easier for you to manage and sort the widgets you downloaded.

Theme Check

This plugin lets you test the theme of your site. This way, you know for sure if it is up to date or not. It also lets you know if it is compatible with Wordpress standards and upgrades. The tests are conducted through an admin menu with results displayed right away.

User Switching

Let’s say that your site has several people that can log in at once. With this plugin, not only can you switch with any user, you can also log off and log in more smoothly. The catch here is not everyone can do this. Only administrators can make the switch at any time. This is especially useful for content-based sites (wherein in writers are allowed access).

Pictura

Images play an important role in web design. Naturally, for your website, you should use quality images. But with strict copyright laws, it can be tough scouring the web for good photos. This plugin helps you with your search and narrows the results according to licence. Through this, you know which pictures you can or can’t use.

WordPress Site Manager

If you have several Wordpress sites, it can be hard to remember the login details of each one. This browser extension allows you to log in each one of them with ease. It is a lot like Last Pass only for Wordpress. It stores the usernames and passwords of all your Wordpress accounts.

All these tools come in handy when you are still developing your site. However, once it is ready, you still need help maintaining it. Any of these tools would definitely come in handy:

For maintenance:

WP Maintenance Mode

If you have a new page that is still being developed, you can let your viewers know with the help of this plugin. For any page that is still under construction, this plugin creates an advisory regarding its status. The advisory itself is in the form of a splash page.

For those of you that don’t know, a splash page is a pop-up page that appears and allows users the option to continue to the main site.

Easy Coming Soon

Similar to WP Maintenance Mode, this plugin allows you to set up an “Under Maintenance” or “Under Construction” page. Setting it up is quite easy, too. You can find a set of tabs that lets you configure the settings. Some of the things you can do with this plugin include set up Google analytics, add a background image, and add the social media buttons.

Google Analytics

Many of you might have heard of this but do not know what this is. This is actually a Google service that gives you comprehensive updates regarding your site’s performance. It is so dynamic that it could even determine which pages are not generating that much traffic. This is useful in helping your site more search engine friendly.

WP DBManager

This plugin is a database manager. It can help you optimise, repair, backup, restore, and even delete your database. If your site has a fairly large database, this is definitely useful. Another good thing about this plugin it allows you to regularly schedule optimisation and repair the database. It also notifies you and recommends the right course of action for any related problems.

Image Cleanup

Images take up a lot of space. With this tool, this can help you retain only relevant images for your site. This plugin will index unreferenced pictures. Based on this, you can decided which photos to keep and which ones to discard. This tool also notifies you of any images without any meta data.

With these tools, you are on your way to building a fully operational site. But remember, make sure that the overall function is user-friendly. After all, you do not want viewers to leave simply because they don’t know how to navigate their way around the site.

Get Wordpress for your Web Hosting today.



SEO vs SEM: which is better?

By Alex J | Friday, 22 July 2016

Even though social media is steadily dictating users' browsing habits, a lot of us still rely on search engines.

In fact, people rely on Google so much that the name was included in the Oxford Dictionary. As a website owner, you still need to rely on search engines in order to attract viewers to your site.

But with a new site to manage, it can be hard to determine which marketing strategies to try – even harder to determine which of them would work.

One of the common questions new site owners ask us is when to implement SEO (search engine optimization) or SEM (search engine marketing) strategies.

The truth is the two are very similar.

Both strategies heavily rely on search engines to attract more viewers (SEO is actually a component of SEM). The differences between them are SEO aims for more organic results while SEM takes advantage of paid ads on search engines.

Now that we know the key differences, the next question is whether to implement SEO or SEM strategies. To help you determine the answer, here's a run through of the pros and cons:

SEO

Pros

Cost-efficiency

You can spend less to earn high rankings. You just need to be aware of effective trends.

Conversion

As long as you play your cards right, there is a chance that visitors will become your customers.

Authority

If your site lands on the first page (especially along the upper half), it could be recognised as an authority domain.

Cons

Time-consuming

This is especially true if competition is tough. It could take a while before you achieve the same results as your competitors.

Risky

You are constantly on the whim of search engine updates. For example, when Google rolled out the Panda and Penguin updates, previous authority sites not only lost their ranking but were also penalised.

Unpredictability

As mentioned previously, you never know what to expect with these software updates. What works one day might not work on the next.

SEM

Pros

Visibility

Even if your site does not rank high in the organic search results, there’s a chance that your paid ads will still land on the first page.

Control

With paid ads in particular, you can set the time, date, and even device.

Specificity

You can input specific keywords relevant to your ads and your business.

Cons

Costly

Depending on the niche or industry, the price for ads might be expensive – even more so if competitors’ ads are dominating the first few pages.

Tedious

It can be a hassle to keep tweaking your ad settings just so they rank.

Reputation

In terms of reputation, most users actually prefer the organic search results over the paid ones.


Ideally, it would be better to implement both SEO and SEM marketing strategies. However, if you can't do both, it's best to analyse which of them is easier to do given your current situation. You could always take advantage of both SEO and SEM strategies once you have enough money or following.



Branding hacks: boosting your business’ social media presence

By Alex J | Friday, 15 July 2016

Nowadays, social media presence is almost a prerequisite when you start a business. This makes a lot of sense considering most consumers spend a fair amount of time posting and tweeting. However, in order to have a thriving Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn presence, you must first establish a solid and loyal following.

Just how do you increase and retain followers? Creating several social media accounts is one way. But with several of them to maintain, managing them all can get overwhelming. In order to fully optimize your social media accounts, you must:

1

Keep track of the online activities of your followers

Take note of the time they are usually active and which platforms they frequently use. From there, you can determine which accounts you need to monitor and manage more than usual. You should also assess their posts, likes, and shares so you can determine their habits, personalities, age group, and all other defining characteristics. You can then come up with posts that would catch their attention.

2

Post relevant content

Just as you should get to know your consumers, they should also get to know your company in return. One of the most sure-fire ways of doing so is to share relevant information. This should not be limited to just news and updates. You can also share about recent studies, prominent personalities, how-to's, trivia, and all other related information pertaining your field – as long as they don't compromise your company's reputation.

3

Jazz up your social media profiles

Make your social media accounts user-friendly and presentable. Upload an eye-catching profile and background photo for all of them. This is where graphics comes in. For example, you could come up with an attractive logo for your budding business and use it as a profile picture. For your background photo, you could use an aesthetically pleasing picture of your establishment or products. Last, but not the least, do not forget to include a memorable description of your company and services.

4

Interact with your followers

The goal is to connect and establish a relationship with your target audience. One suggestion is to acknowledge followers that mentioned your business in their post, tweets, or shares. Personally thank those that commended your company and apologize to those with negative feedback. Aside from directly responding to whatever they share about your business, try to engage them in conversation. For instance, schedule regular live discussions and FAQ sessions with your followers. You can make these events more exciting by handing out prizes and rewards.

5

Connect with key players in your industry

These people or groups do not necessarily have to be direct competitors. Some examples are bloggers, award-giving associations, and licensing bodies of your industry. When your followers notice that you are affiliated with these people or groups, by default they would associate your company or brand as an authority figure, too. This is also the first step in making your company visible in these movers-and-shakers' radar. So go ahead and start following them.

6

Make your website's content shareable through social media

Sharing is the keyword here. Whenever you post an article or send a newsletter, make sure that social media buttons feature prominently. Nowadays, online traffic is not only generated through search engines but also through direct page visits. More often than not, this is achieved through social media posts.

And there you have it. These are just several ways you could increase your followers and boost your social media presence. However, if you do not have the time, you could always hire a social media manager. What is important is to cultivate your social media presence so that you can reach people who matter and extend your brand's reach.



Help! My site has a security violation

By Anand D | Friday, 8 July 2016

The warning that your site has a security violation means that suspicious activity has been discovered there. This means that somewhere in all of the files that make up your website, there is a piece of code that is performing a malicious function – serving spam pop-ups, redirecting your users, stealing their data, or any of a number of other possibilities.

When this happens, it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are ways of solving the problem – and, better yet, there are ways of making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place. In this article we’ll be looking at all of these things.

The first set of instructions is what to do if you have a working backup of your site. If you don’t have one, skip to the next set of instructions. Please note that if you do not have a working backup, cleaning up your site is going to be far more difficult and may require a level of technical expertise. For this reason, we urge you to always create backups.

What to do if you have a backup of your files

Many site owners think that if they have a working backup, then all they need to do is re-upload it after their site is hacked.

The problem with this approach is that while it repairs the damage that has been done, it doesn’t repair the vulnerability that was exploited in the first place.

So, after you upload your site from a backup, you have to check a few things.

First, check all of the passwords that you use to log into your site. This includes CMS passwords, FTP passwords, and your hosting manager password. Any of these may be the weakness.

Second, make sure that no extra accounts have been created – again, this refers to CMS accounts, FTP accounts, and any other services you use to log in. Often, hackers create backdoors when they exploit a weakness that allows them to infect sites again once they are cleaned. Make sure that all of your accounts are under your control with fresh passwords.

What to do if you do not have a backup

If you do not have a working backup of your uninfected site, then the process of cleaning it is much more difficult. Because each hack is performed differently, there are no standard solutions – the number of solutions is vast, and beyond the scope of any article.

The solution offered here is triage – it is fairly ugly, but it will solve the problem.

First, you need to create a backup of your site. Then take it offline.

You can do this by deleting the contents of your hosting account. We recommend setting up a temporary page that says you are doing maintenance while it is unavailable.

This may seem extreme, but it is better than having your users compromised because your site is not secure, especially if you conduct ecommerce.

Next, you will need to find the malicious code. This is not simple, and can involve a great deal of rooting through every file that makes up your site.

Then you will need to re-upload the cleaned version on your site, and change all your access passwords as outlined above.

If you do not have the technical expertise to delete the malicious code on your own, we recommend hiring a technical specialist to do it.

Alternatively, you can use our Site Protection service, which scans your site for malware and deletes it. This is cheaper than hiring a technical specialist.

Additionally, using it you can avoid taking your site offline, as it will clean the files in your hosting account.

How to avoid future hacks

Now that your site has been cleaned, you are probably wondering what can be done to avoid this in the future.

There is good news on this front.

Most of the hacks that are performed by a person (or, often, a group of people) sitting in a room looking for security flaws are against government or large businesses. Small websites are more likely to be targeted by automated bots – programs that search for well-known security flaws and try to exploit them in predictable ways.

This means that as long as you close these well-known holes, you are most likely going to be safe.

The best way of keeping up to date with security is to always use the latest version of any plugins, themes, and content management systems. Out of date versions of this software are some of the most common security risks. You can check out our WordPress-specific article on security for more information.

Second, you need to avoid responding to phishing emails. These emails ask you to log into a known service using a particular link, or simply ask for your password. Never answer these emails directly or use the links they provide. They are almost always disguised and lead you to copies of sites that you use, where you enter your password, which is then given to attackers.

Lastly, make sure that your passwords are secure and high-quality. Check out our previous article on this topic.



Isn't Flash dead yet?

By James C | Friday, 24 June 2016

Last year, in the blog post Is Flash Dead, we speculated that Google might have killed Flash. It seemed like a reasonable assumption. After all, the tech giant has made no secret of preferring HTML5, and with AdWords and Doubleclick phasing out Flash, it was badly injured.

Things haven't got much better for the embattled plugin.

Microsoft has bad news for Flash: the Energy Estimation Engine service in Windows 10 will give the Edge web browser a much needed battery life boost for laptops. Why is this bad? Edge will pause Flash content, like ads and animations, that are considered to not be central to the browsing experience.

This news from Microsoft follows Mozilla's stated position that they will "continue to work with developers to encourage adoption of safer and more stable technologies, such as HTML5 and Javascript."

It gets worse, with news that Apple's latest release of its Safari browser will pretend Flash doesn't exist.

In the blog post Next Steps for Legacy Plug-ins, Apple explain:

When Safari 10 ships this fall, by default, Safari will behave as though common legacy plug-ins on users' Macs are not installed.
On websites that offer both Flash and HTML5 implementations of content, Safari users will now always experience the modern HTML5 implementation, delivering improved performance and battery life. This policy and its benefits apply equally to all websites; Safari has no built-in list of exceptions. If a website really does require a legacy plug-in, users can explicitly activate it on that website.

Apple plans to do this by not disclosing to websites what plugins Safari has installed. When a website displays a "Flash isn't installed" message with a link to download, and there's not HTML5 option, the browser will give users the option to run Flash either once only, or on every visit.

Adobe knows what way the wind blows, and already shows signs of moving partially away from Flash.

Flash Professional, Adobe's tool for developing animations and multimedia content, was renamed Adobe Animate CC, with a focus on developing HTML5 content while also supporting the creation of Flash content. In further support of HTML5, Adobe announced last month that its Primetime HTML5 player framework would soon be generally available.

However, Adobe isn't sunsetting Flash quite yet.

"HTML5 alone doesn't support everything that broadcasters need in order to manage multiscreen video distribution," the company says, describing it as a partial solution. Similarly, Adobe says it is "committed to working with industry partners, as we have with Microsoft and Google, to help ensure the ongoing compatibility and security of Flash content" and that "while standards like HTML5 will be the web platform of the future across all devices, Flash continues to be used in key categories like web gaming and premium video."

With Apple's Safari choosing to use HTML5 over Flash, joining Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft marginalising the Flash plugin, surely there can't be much life left for the once-speedster plugin Flash?



The crazy easy way to pick the right template for your website

By James C | Friday, 17 June 2016

The forest of available themes for your website, whether you’re using WordPress or our very own Website builder, can seem intimidating at first. Luckily, by using a systematic, thorough approach, it is possible to make sure that you end up with a website that looks good and works well. The steps in this article are one such approach.

1

Know what you need and what you don’t

The plethora of options available to you can make you think that you need a theme with more – more features, more pages, more sliders, more gadgets. This is wrong on several levels.

First, having too much information on your website is confusing. Your site has a purpose – whether that’s signups to your email lists, phone calls, or direct sales through the site, nothing should distract from its essential reason for existing. Do people really need a Google Maps widget showing the physical location of a store that only works online? No, but that won’t stop some site owners from embedding one.

Second, all the bells and whistles can slow your site down. This makes for a worse experience when people use it – nobody likes a website that loads slowly. Why make it less pleasant to use your site just to add things that you don’t really need?

2

Make sure it works well technically

This is the part of the process that many new site owners think they won’t be able to test. However, there are a few technical issues that you can clear up by yourself – and very easily, at that.

The first of these is making sure that it displays properly and looks good on different devices. Open up a link to it on your phone or tablet and see if anything goes wrong. This is called responsive design, and it’s often quoted as a vital part of modern website design.

Another test you can perform yourself is opening the template in multiple browsers. This is another important way of making sure that its technical specifications are up to par.

3

What maintenance is required?

This is a close relative of point number two. If the template requires a lot of technical tweaking and you don’t know how to do it, then managing your site can become unnecessarily stressful. If, on the other hand, you find it simple to add or take away content and elements as you need to, then this is a template that you can rely on, one that will make your site management as simple as can be.

4

Is it well-supported?

Every website eventually runs into some problems that require help. It’s the nature of the problems that they face. If you downloaded a theme for free, then you probably don’t get support with it.

You need a responsive, caring support team to make sure that your site is always shown to everyone in the best conditions.

5

Does it look right?

This is, when all is said and done, the most important thing to worry about when you create your site. Does it look the way you imagined it – and if not, can you change it to make it look that way?

There are many templates and themes available, meaning that no matter what type of site you want to create, there is going to be a theme that reflects what you want it to look like, and that’s the way it should be.