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Enhance security with two factor authentication

By Alex J | Friday, 2 December 2016
For all the benefits the internet offers, it also has its fair share of risks. If you are not care...

Enhance security with two factor authentication

By Alex J | Friday, 2 December 2016

For all the benefits the internet offers, it also has its fair share of risks. If you are not careful, your site might get tampered and violated. Even if you set up the most reliable system, there is a small chance that hackers would find a way to gain access. So how do you stay one step ahead of them?

Good news is there’s a way to throw them off: two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA and multi-factor authentication).

What is two factor authentication?

This is a security system that not only requires a password and username but also an added factor that only the user has. This could be an authentication/verification code or even a physical object. It is entirely up to the company what the two-factor authentication would be.

How does it work?

The good thing about two-factor authentication is it can be customised depending on the nature of your business or the service provided. To give you an idea of what you can work with, you can learn from these companies:

Google

The search engine’s two-factor authentication activates whenever a user signs up in an unfamiliar device. Google has several authentication methods. Users could either choose to receive their authentication code through text or phone call. The company also developed an Authenticator App so that users could still verify their web activities while offline. If you receive a notification through email regarding unfamiliar online activity, you could then decide what to do next. The ideal step would be to change your password.

Paypal

Similar to Google, Paypal also notifies the user of suspicious activity and requests for a confirmation by sending an SMS with a verification code. But if the user fails to authenticate, then the site immediately sets the account on security hold. This method was intended so that it prevents funds from being maxed out mistakenly.

What are the perks of two-factor authentication?

This method adds a layer of security in a customised but still practical way. This customisation also throws an element of surprise, which comes in handy where hackers are concerned because they always rely on staying one step ahead of any program or system. Each network system are not all the same but they do have similarities, which is what hackers exploit. However, the second authentication adds a layer of unpredictability that sets off hackers. The authentication method is also simple enough for users to understand and implement.

In conclusion…

Two-factor authentication is a simple but still efficient method of security. And when you have a website that deals with sensitive information, this is definitely useful for keep data that extra bit safe.



What should you look for in a hosting provider? Part 1.

By Alex J | Friday, 25 November 2016

In this series of articles, we will be tackling the qualities that you should look for and how to gauge their efficiency.

The hosting reliability measurement method.

Response time

Although social media is proving to be a viable online marketing tool, it is still not a good enough replacement for a website. So if you are about to open up your own business, might as well invest in a good hosting service and create your own website.

This leads to the question: what are the qualities of a good hosting provider? First time customers usually look for tight security, considerable memory, sufficient support, and swift loading time. But out of all those qualities, the last one would probably help reduce bounce rate.

Why should sites load faster?

Well, the most crucial time to make a lasting impression is the first time users view a page. How long it takes for the website to load will most likely determine if a user would stick around or not. This period is called the time to first byte (TTFB). What happens during this period is the user (or at least his/her computer) sends a request to the server, the server processes the request, and then sends a response to the user. As mentioned earlier, how quickly the TTFB takes place could determine whether a user stays our bounces.

How does a good hosting provider minimise TTFB?

How long or short the TTFB is could be determined by how effective their servers are. Ideally, the closer the servers are to the user, then the faster the sites would load. This is the reason most established hosting providers set up multiple servers in strategic locations around the world. But it's not enough that they are evenly spread out. The servers themselves should run efficiently on their own.

These days, cloud server is considered the most reliable because of its flexibility, cost-efficiency, security, and eco-friendliness. But how do they minimise down time? Unlike regular servers, cloud servers implement failover system.

Here's how it works: when one or several servers don't work or aren't performing as well, the system then switches the functions of the defective servers to an alternate one. This substitution method ensures that processes still go smoothly despite one or two servers going down. This may not guarantee that sites remain live all the time but it does significantly shorten down time and TTFB (depending on how fast the wonky server gets substituted) and theoretically reduce bounce rate. We, at Crazy Domains, happen to rely on Next Generation Cloud Hosting.

The point is knowing which server providers use could help you take your pick. And one way of measuring server reliability is to conduct TTFB checks. Luckily, there are several testing sites that could measure the TTFB for you, such as bytecheck.com and pingdom.com. If you are thinking about signing up with us, here's one of the results of our TTFB test:



What’s in a name? Deciding on a name for your company

By Alex J | Friday, 18 November 2016

When you introduce yourself to another person, naturally the first thing you say is your name, which can say so much about you. Similarly, a company's name says a lot about their brand.

Here's an example: Nike founder, Phil Knight, initially wanted to call the company Dimension Six. It was only at the eleventh hour when one of the company's first employees suggested Nike (after the Greek goddess of victory).

Although Knight wasn't such a fan in the beginning, the name served the company well later on. After all, some of the most celebrated figures in sports did endorse the brand at some point. Some would even argue that landing a Nike deal signifies a career landmark.

So what can you learn from this example? There are a few takeaways, namely:

Keep it short and memorable

While there is nothing wrong with trying to stand out by coming up with an original name, it could prove damaging – especially when it is hard to spell and pronounce. You can follow the example of BestBuy, Apple, Facebook, and Home Depot and simply use existing words.

Using the right words for your brand name is one way of establishing your brand. You can make them look more catchy by changing the spelling a bit. Founders of Sony came up with the name because it is derived from the Latin word “sonus”, which means sound.

If you do insist on coming up with your own brand name, just make sure it rolls off the tongue easily.

Choose a name that reflects your company

The beauty of picking the right brand name is customers immediately get a sense of what your company is about. But don't pick a name that is too specific. You might risk putting yourself in a box. Try and come up with a brand name that would still resonate even as the company evolves.

Take Netflix, as an example. As soon as you hear the brand, you'd immediately associate it with online streaming of television shows and films. But aside from streaming, the company also revolutionised the way viewers enjoy their favourite series and movies by allowing them to binge-watch.

As a result, the company decided to release entire seasons of their own shows instead of just airing one episode a week. This method has not only revolutionised film and TV consumption but also the production of shows.

Test the name with consumers

Before you go public with the name, it helps to test it with potential customers first. The goal is to test how receptive your target audience would be and if the name would generate a positive reaction. Assemble a focus group and test out the shortlist of potential names on them.

Even more established companies still grapple with their brand name. So if you find yourself unsure about the name you picked, there are plenty of other opportunities to change it even though your business is already up and running.

Accenture, for example, decided to change their name from Andersen Consulting when the name Andersen was tied to accounting scandals. Google was also previously called Backrub but switched to their current name simply because it sounded a lot like the mathematical term googol.

Once you have decided on a name, make sure it checks out. Enquire with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) if it has not been trademarked or copyrighted. Doing this would hopefully avoid conflict of intellectual property. You should also check domain registries to check no other brand used the name for their website.

If you're lucky, then you can also use it for your website, which can potentially boost traffic. Ultimately, the right name not only solidifies your brand's identity, but could also set the course of the company.



Business lessons you can learn from the evolution of carrots

By Alex J | Friday, 11 November 2016

Fun Fact: Did you know that carrots used to be purple?

Before the 17th century, carrots were originally cultivated in a region in Persia (present day Afghanistan and Iran). Back then, they were either purple, yellow, or red. At that time, the vegetable was cultivated mainly for aromatic purposes.

Fast forward several centuries, the Europeans were introduced to carrots when the Moors brought it to Spain. It was only during the 17th century that some Dutch farmers started harvesting the orange variety that we have today.

You must be wondering why this could be a useful piece of information – especially when you run a business. Well, there are surprisingly useful insights about carrots that entrepreneurs can learn from:

Lay the ground work for your business

In order for carrots to grow, you also have to nurture the soil. Nourishing the ground is important to produce healthy carrots. And you should do the same for your business. To lay the groundwork of your endeavours, not only should you plan how to start your business, you should also map out its direction. Think of this as a guide when your company starts to progress.

No need to be original to be different

You don't have to be an innovator in order to succeed. For instance, Apple did not invent the first MP3 player. What propelled the iPod's success was its integration to other Mac devices and user interface.

The same could be said when the Dutch started harvesting orange carrots. The reason people started eating them wasn't just because the colour was different. The orange carrot was plumper and sweeter compared to the purple one, which was why it caught on.

Feel free to experiment different strategies

With a new colour and improved flavour, it did not take long for the Dutch's breed of carrots to spread in other parts of Europe. It also didn't take long for countries like France and England to breed their own variety.

The point is these countries took their own risks and started experimenting. One way to diversify a business is to try out different methods and strategies. Ultimately, one of these experiments will pay off. If not, at least you gathered enough information to help improve your business.

Know where to expand your business

Because the carrot had plenty of uses, it is no wonder that it was exported worldwide. If you want to expand your business, you need to determine which territories your business would most likely thrive in. These days, a lot of businesses are expanding in Asia because it is one of the fastest developing regions in the world. Asia is recognised as a region of opportunity because it still has a developing environment, a growing number of consumers, and advanced infrastructure. All these factors make Asia a promising region for businesses.

Given the carrot's colourful history, it is not surprising that you could learn a few things for your business to grow. By following these tactics, hopefully your business would thrive just as well.



Everything you need to know about servers

By Alex J | Friday, 4 November 2016

During the 2016 US Presidential campaign, you’ve probably heard a lot about Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Some of you are probably wondering why this is a big deal in the US.

To some extent, the furor is because of the number of emails (both personal and professional). Take note that this is a server and not some USB or external hard drive. This means the Secretary of State stored thousands of emails.

To understand the stark difference between these devices, it helps to know what a server actually is.

According to Webopedia, it is basically “A computer or device on a network that manages network resources”. There a number of different servers, all for a different purpose. Here are a few examples:

File as its name suggests, it mainly stores files and could be accessed strictly by network users.
Print this kind of server manages all the printers within a network. This server does not need to be a computer considering it only stores temporary files.
Database this kind of server is similar to the File type except the data it stores is much more complex. Also, accessing and retrieving the data is much more complicated. Users access either through a front end or back end application.
Web a web server is a computer (or group of computers) that load web pages and other related content to internet users.
Linux this kind of servers is a variant of the Linux open source operating system. Of all the servers, this is considered one of the most reliable because it can handle network and system functions.

These are just a few common examples of servers. Although each type is starkly different than the other, they do have similar functions and components. For example: All servers use the Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) storage system. The principal function of a RAID system is to use several disk drives but configure them to act like one.

Since servers are complex devices, naturally they have to be properly maintained. Here are the top tips to maintaining a server hardware:

1.Monitor its activity and performance.
2.Clean and scan it regularly.
3.Update whenever necessary.
4.Back-up your data regularly to avoid losing crucial information.
5.Remove unnecessary files or data to free up disk space.

All these steps are necessary if you have your own server. It’s true that having your own server could help boost a lot of your IT processes, but just make sure to decide which type is ideal for your work or business.

Find the best server for your needs here.



Setting up an efficient e-commerce site

By Alex J | Friday, 28 October 2016

Any webmaster knows that designing a website requires careful consideration – even more so for e-commerce sites. Because of the sensitive and complex nature of the site, it is important that the customer has an easy shopping experience. To achieve that goal, here are a few design principles you should incorporate. Here are some of the most important:

1

Include an FAQ page

For a customer to understand how your e-commerce site works, make sure to leave plenty of guides for them. A good place to start is an FAQ page. This page should answer specific questions, such as return policy, cash refunds, delivery time, and waiting period. By answering questions before they are asked, this helps minimise unnecessary queries from customers.

2

Set up analytics

It is crucial to set up analytics for your e-commerce website, so that you can accurately monitor the overall performance of your site. You can also get a better idea of the browsing habits of your visitors, and determine which pages are being visited more frequently, and which ones aren’t. All in all, analytics goes a long way to helping you to fix the weak features of your site, and ultimately reduce the visitor bounce rate.

3

Write fitting and convincing product descriptions

In order to help customers to understand, and ultimately purchase, your products, you need to write accurate and convincing descriptions for them. Start with describing the unique features and functionalities, but be careful not to go overboard or you might just end up sounding like you are bragging. Remember, most internet users have a short attention span. This means you only have a limited window of opportunity to not only spark their interest, but also hold their attention.

4

Use high quality photos

There is absolutely nothing consumers hate more than being deceived. One of the limitations to online shopping is that customers could only find out the actual quality of products once it is delivered to them. One way to help them judge if a product is suitable is to provide high quality photos. Aside from allowing customers to accurately see what the product looks like, good looking pictures can also be a great tool for grabbing their attention.

5

Make your e-commerce site easy to navigate

You can have the best products and services, but it would all be for naught if your visitors don’t even know their way around your site. A site navigation bar can assist visitors by not only by helping them find specific sections, but also help them to see what other pages your site has. Other navigation tips to implement include using generic labels, avoid using drop down menus (because they can obstruct the view of your content), and organising the items on your product list.

6

Utilise payment systems

Some customers may prefer to shop using their credit or debit card, while others like using Paypal or other gateways. To make these online transactions safe and efficient, choose a payment gateway that is supported by your e-commerce platform. Ideally, this gateway should have very few bugs or issues so that customers don’t have to deal with mistaken deductions and purchases.

7

Keep sensitive information confidential

It might seem obvious for an e-commerce site, but there is some information that should be kept private. Client information, in particular, should remain confidential. One way to ensure this data is not leaked is to have an SSL certificate, a security protocol that determines the level of encryption for the link and data transmitted. This feature works by creating an encrypted link between a server and a browser.

8

Choose the right web hosting package

Just as important as the e-commerce site's content is your site's web hosting package, because this ultimately affects the performance of your website. With the right hosting package, you can minimise down time - and don’t have to worry about a slow loading site putting customers off. Luckily, Crazy Domains delivers 300% faster page loading speeds using SSD across a multiple server network, and comes complete with a 99% uptime guarantee.

The point of using these design tips and features is to make the shopping experience much more enjoyable for your customers. Hopefully such tactics will also convince them to spend more time, and money, on your site.



Business security: keeping your network safe

By Alex J | Friday, 21 October 2016

These days, almost every business is connected to the Internet. Some company processes even rely on good connection. Even though the Internet has become an integral part of a business, it has its fair share of risks. Hackers, in particular, are the first people to exploit the loopholes in any network.

While you can’t prevent hackers from trying to access your business’ network, there are ways to make it harder for them. Here are the top five:

1

Security Policy

Just like your rules and regulations, security policies should be followed by everyone in the company. There should also be policies specifically for authority figures and everyone else that sends and receives crucial information. These policies should also conform to your company’s security objectives.

2

Service Packs

For those who aren’t familiar, a service pack (or combo update for Mac OS) is a group of updates and fixes for an operating system. The service pack of the major operating systems are as follows:

Regular updates will not only keep your OS functional but also minimise the number of vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. This is because the updates could fix potential loopholes in your network.

3

Network Inventory

Keep a list of all hardware and software. In this list, make sure to mention which of them need to be more secure than others. This is important so that you’ll know which of them are outdated, damaged, and, most importantly, corrupted. For larger companies, there are software that could help you conduct a proper network inventory.

4

File Monitoring

When it comes to receiving files through email, make sure you have a filter and segregate emails with .bas, .bat, .exe, .vbs, and other risky file extensions. Not all files with these extensions are bad, however they are the easiest to corrupt. If the files can’t be segregated, your company should at least have a really effective anti-virus, anti-malware, and spyware program.

5

Network Testing

This process should gauge the utilisation levels, number of users, and application utilisation of company hardware and software. All these factors should be tested individually so that you can gauge how the effectivity of your network security system. The network test should also help in the development of your security system.

There are plenty of other ways to secure your security network, but that would depend on the nature of your business. Just like any other process, your business network should be properly maintained. This way you could properly monitor the online footprint of your company.



Facebook business page: as effective as a website?

By Alex J | Friday, 14 October 2016

Social media has become an integral part of people’s lives. Not only has it become an effective tool for communication, it also serves as an additional platform for information.

Lots of businesses create social media accounts not only to get in touch with their consumers, but to also share updates regarding their companies. Some would argue that the dissemination of information on social media is just as effective as a website.

Facebook pages, in particular, are almost regarded as good as a website. However, is it really a good enough substitute? To find out, let’s run down a list of pros and cons:

Pros

Better Engagement with Consumers

There is no denying that businesses can directly communicate with their consumers with the help of social media.

There are even some that post their frustrations about products and services on the company’s Facebook page. However, these same companies also directly respond, defend, or even placate said customers. Through this, it gets easier for both companies and consumers to get in touch with one another.

Assist in Identifying Target Audience

With a Facebook page, it becomes easier to identify a business’ target market. Entrepreneurs are notified through every Like and Follow the page generates which FB user visit their page. From there, they check out the profiles of followers and gauge their interests, which helps determine spending habits and shopping preferences.

Build a Trustworthy Brand

As a marketing tool, having a Facebook page lends some credibility. After all, companies that don’t have a page can seem outdated. Also, companies that engage more with their target audience seem more receptive, and the more that a business interacts through Facebook, the more they instil brand loyalty.

While there are advantages to using an FB page, it does have some limitations compared to a dedicated website:

Cons

Intense Competition

There are more pages being created every day. This means that at some point any one of those pages would attract the attention of consumers.

Even posting unique content on your page does not guarantee retention among followers. While there are other ways of regaining traffic, the creation of other pages with similar content along with the short attention span of users makes it harder to keep followers.

Questionable Authenticity

It’s easy to create a Facebook page. One reason it’s so easy to set up is because there’s already a template. Considering how easy it is to create a page, it is just as easy to duplicate a similar one. The user can simply grab an official image from the brand and use it as a profile and background photo. As a result, this could lead potential consumes to question the legitimacy of the FB page.

Limits on customisation

Although you can provide basic company information on a Facebook page, this could prove insufficient depending on the scope of the business. Unlike in a website wherein entrepreneurs could create as many pages dedicated to products, services, updates, press releases, and all other relevant content.


There is no question that creating a Facebook page is necessary in building an online presence. However, a dedicated website is still important to solidify your company’s brand.

A Facebook page is simply an added tool for information and communication for consumers. If you are thinking about having your own website, it’s Crazy Easy to sign up for one at Crazy Domains.



Web design: top 5 ways to learn the ropes

By Alex J | Friday, 7 October 2016

One of the most lucrative fields you can get into today is web design. Even though social media is booming, there is still no denying the importance of having a properly designed and managed website. For this reason, a lot of companies, and even individuals, are looking for skilled web designers to help create their sites.

For those who are interested in learning web design, here are some convenient ways to learn the tricks of the trade.

1

Go to school

This is one of the surest ways to learn web design. For starters, having a degree (from an esteemed college or uni is even better), is one way of boosting your credentials. A lot of institutions recognise the increasing importance of computer and web related services, which is why a lot of them offer programming and web design courses.

Now, this option is considered the most time consuming way to study web design, which is why it is ideal for young adults fresh out of school. However, if you don’t mind putting in the time and money, then you can reap the benefits of having a degree in web design.

2

Watch or take online tutorials

If you don’t have the money to go to school, another option is to watch or take online tutorials. There are a lot of free web design courses you can take online, with free demos. There are even sites that issue certificates once you’ve passed the all the courses. The good thing is this is in some ways similar to having a degree, especially if the site is accredited.

Another benefit to learning online is you can take lessons on your own time. You can learn a new course whenever you have time to spare. Of course, you need good internet connection in order to access these sites, especially when you have to watch videos.

3

Read books about web design

If you prefer to learn just one type of coding language, then getting a book is the way to go. There are a number of esteemed authors that have published web design books for jQuery, Joomla, CSS3 and HTML5. There are also books that deal more on effective web design strategies.

The only downside to learning from a book is it might be harder to apply the principles. Applying the principles might go easier if you have the book open while you try out a few of the lessons from each chapter. However, be careful which books you choose, and make sure to choose one that suits your level of knowledge.

4

Download a web design program

If you’ve learned the principles, the next logical step is to test them out. But if you have doubts implementing them on an actual site, then you can always practice using a web design program. A few examples include Adobe Dreamweaver, Mobirise Website Builder, and Google Web Designer.

Using these tools is ideal for people with a bit of background on web design and who want to brush up on their skills. Bear in mind if you are still a beginner, it would be best to put off using this software. It’s better to learn the basic principles, before putting them into practice, or else it’s easy to be overwhelmed or disheartened.

5

A mix of all the methods mentioned above

If one method doesn’t work out for you, then switch it up by mixing and matching! For example: try having a book open while tinkering and testing out code in your web design program. The point is that it is, ultimately, up to you how best to learn the principles of web design.

The good thing about the web design industry is the internet is always evolving. This means that there’s always new things to learn and apply. And if you don’t want to be left out of the current trends, it’s best to keep refreshing your knowledge of the subject.



The internet of things: ushering in a new way of life

By Alex J | Friday, 30 September 2016

Which sounds more appealing?

You come home, turn on the lights, switch on the TV, and cook dinner.

OR

You come home and the lights, TV, and stove turn on by themselves.

B) sounds like a better option, doesn't it? But you might be thinking that you wouldn't experience this kind of scenario in your lifetime. Believe it or not, this phenomenon could happen much sooner than you think. In fact, this sort of technology is already incorporated on a number of products. The term for this technological trend is Internet of things (IoT).

What is Internet of Things?

According to Webopedia, this pertains to a network of connected objects to the internet and to one another to give owners a more efficient and convenient way of using them. Simply put, any kind of thing that can be switched on and off is connected online. This connection allows users to switch the settings of these objects through their laptops, smartphones, and desktop computers and receive notifications regarding the overall condition as long as they have decent internet connection.

How does this work?

In order for these objects (commonly known as connected devices) to connect to the Internet, they are implanted with sensors that could transmit either location, weather, movement, temperature, and environment. These sensors also detect other connected devices. The data collected are stored in cloud software. It is through the cloud software that the user can switch up the settings and even allow these connected devices to communicate with the user or other objects.

Here's a more concrete example:

Most modern cars have On Board Diagnostics (OBD) II port. As long as users have this, they could find a way to make their vehicle smarter, so to speak. They could download the app Automatic Pro on their smart phone which could feed information about their car's overall status. The information is transmitted to the phone via Bluetooth.

What's the catch?

For all its potential, IoT technology also has its fair share of risks, the biggest of which is security. After all, any device connected to the internet has the potential of being hacked. Mollie Halpern, an FBI Specialist, warned that cyber criminals could upload malware to any of these objects and obtain personal information from the owner. Manufacturers are aware of these risks and are doing the best they can to improve the security features of their products.

How would this shape the modern world?

The car example is just the tip of the iceberg. The true beauty of IoT is it can be integrated in almost any industry, installed in any object no matter how large or small, and could improve any task. With that said, the possibilities for this tech are almost limitless.

Indeed, IoT is ushering in a new way of life. More importantly, it is introducing a new and more personalized way of everyday devices and appliances.