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7 Cybersecurity Trends Your Business Can Learn From in 2020

By Faith Lisondra |
The past years have seen a number of corporate attacks on cybersecurity. Facebook suffered a major security breach that compromised the...

7 Cybersecurity Trends Your Business Can Learn From in 2020

By Faith Lisondra |


The past years have seen a number of corporate attacks on cybersecurity.

Facebook suffered a major security breach that compromised the personal data of 29 million users. Hackers breached a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol surveillance contractor — stealing multiple traveller photos and license plate images.

More unfortunate news hits home — Australian businesses are “completely unprepared” for data breaches and cyberattacks. In fact, reported incidents have increased by 700 per cent since last year.

With cybercriminals attacking authorities and huge corporations, the possibility that they can easily breach your security and destroy your business is sky-high.

What better way to counter these attacks than to learn from them? Leverage these top cybersecurity trends and predictions to equip your business this 2020.

7 Top Cybersecurity Predictions to Look Out for in 2020

  1. 99% of attacks are from known vulnerabilities



By 2020, 99% of cyberattacks will come from vulnerabilities already known by IT professionals for at least one year.

Businesses and organisations need to identify and patch these vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them.

Think of it this way: An unlocked window at night is an invitation for others to enter your home. It’s just a matter of time until robbers find it and try to break in.

Just like you would with your home, do regular checks with your website and fix any security flaws right away.

Good cybersecurity hygiene should keep common attacks at bay and protect your online presence for years to come.

  1. 1/3 of successful attacks will be caused by shadow IT



Not everything can be managed by your IT department — and this increases the risk of future cyberattacks.

Shadow IT refers to applications and infrastructure used within a company without the knowledge of its IT department.

Employees often turn to certain software and web services to easily accomplish their daily tasks. With shadow IT, they don’t have to ask for IT authorisation to do so.

Some familiar examples are cloud services and personal devices through bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

Shadow IT has its pros and cons. While it increases productivity within the workforce, it also puts the business at risk for cybersecurity attacks.

Instead of sanctioning shadow IT users, employers need to create a culture of acceptance and promote education. They can use this as an opportunity to find better ways to deal with additional IT resources needed to improve productivity.

  1. IoT-based attacks will increase



IoT, or the Internet of Things, has paved the way for new IT possibilities. But along with this are the countless security risks involved.

In fact, Microsoft found out that a Russian hacking group called STRONTIUM has intercepted the IoT devices of several Microsoft customers — using them to gain access to certain corporate networks.

Two of the devices were compromised for two reasons: (1) no one changed the device’s default password, and (2) the other device wasn’t installed with the latest security patch.

Cybercriminals will take advantage of weak device management as corporate environments turn to IoT. Microsoft calls on businesses to better manage their IoT networks, especially in this BYOD world.

  1. Attackers will capture data in transit



We’re likely to see increasing attempts to hack into routers to capture data passing through them.

Hackers can insert malware into a router and perform malicious acts, such as steal banking credentials or display spoofed web pages to lure users into submitting their information.

Ecommerce merchants do not store credit card information to prevent attackers from accessing them in their database. But as their methods evolve, cybercriminals will continue to find ways to capture consumer data when it is in transit.

These attacks, referred to as “formjacking”, have recently affected global companies — and they’re expected to continue come 2020.

Protect your website from such attacks by getting a reliable SSL certificate. An SSL promotes safe and secure online transactions — which is a must among ecommerce businesses.

  1. “Passwordless” authentication will be the norm



Passwords are a magnet for cybercriminals. They’re gateways to various security attacks, such as phishing, credential stuffing, and social engineering.

This makes “passwordless” authentication a necessity for devices and corporate technologies.

Passwords are far too embedded in business practices, so don’t expect them to disappear just yet.

For now, it pays to explore passwordless methods and products, like the use of biometrics, for stronger identification and analytic capabilities.

  1. Cloud security becomes a mainstream computing platform



A cloud shift is expected through 2020 and beyond as more organisations are going for cloud-based platforms.

The cloud is a great tool in running a business as it lowers operating costs, promotes better collaboration, and increases flexibility.

But along with these benefits is an increase in cloud security risks.

By 2020, businesses will continue to mature their cloud security competency to keep up with the trend. This means investing in people, tools, and processes that help them master cloud technology and keep it secure as much as possible.

  1. AI will be used to aid and counter attacks



Many business operations have already utilised AI-powered systems. Although they automate manual tasks and promote efficient decision-making, AI systems also invite cybersecurity attacks as they hold massive volumes of data.

Cybercriminals won’t just target AI systems; they will also utilise AI techniques to supplement their malicious acts.

AI could be used in phishing attacks or disinformation campaigns to fool targeted persons.

By 2020, businesses will continue to mature their cloud security competency to keep up with the trend. This means investing in people, tools, and processes that help them master cloud technology and keep it secure as much as possible.

On the flip side, defenders will also increasingly depend on AI to keep these attacks out.

Integrating machine learning techniques to their threat identification systems helps companies identify vulnerabilities — and effectively secure their assets from future attacks.

Conclusion


As information technology booms, online security attacks continue to improve. It’s only a matter of time until attackers can tap into your online properties. Learn how to spot vulnerabilities early on and bulletproof your website security as soon as possible.

The Beginner's Guide to SEO Keywords

By Analuz Abing |


Keywords are important to SEO. It's the initial ingredient of a kicking online marketing campaign.

Without a proper keyword strategy in place, your website loses organic traffic resulting in a loss of leads, conversions, and yes, profit.

In this guide, we've broken down basic insights on SEO keywords and how you can implement them into your content and overall marketing strategy.

So, what are keywords?


With thousands of websites online, do you ever wonder how people actually find your site?

Unless you're a well-known brand, they're likely searching for keywords or phrases related to your product or service.

SEO keywords are the words or phrases in your website content that connects you with the searcher intent behind those keywords. So it's not just about throwing in random words that rank in search engines, it's about providing valuable content to your readers.

Say for example you're in the home improvement industry, creating content out of targeted keywords like "bathroom remodelling services" or "kitchen renovation" helps you meet the searcher's intent.

To summarise, keywords help you...


  • Define your content strategy. Keywords work as a backbone for your website content allowing you to decide on the topics you can expand to connect with readers.
  • Drive organic traffic to your website. Targeted keywords tell search engines what topics you rank for. Think of them as the connection between your content and what people are searching for online.
  • Increase leads. The right keywords bring the right audience. And the right audience are more likely to connect with your brand better.

You don't simply insert SEO keywords into your website. There are proper steps to make them work and deliver the results you want. This brings us to the most actionable part of this post: Keywords Research.

6 Keywords Research Tips to Optimise Your Website Content


1. Determine your target audience and outline their buying process


Who are you selling to?

Get to know your target persona by collecting characteristics of your ideal customer. Think of the people who're likely interested in your product or service then list down factors like age, sex, geographic locations, etc.

Are you selling clothing to trendy tweens and teenagers? Or are you looking to target working-class bachelors in their early 20s?

The more detailed you get, the easier it is to narrow down your keywords list.

Then, align your keywords with their buyer's journey

Customer journey is the process where people make an informed decision before buying from you.

They generally go through the following three stages, namely:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

For the awareness stage, search queries are often question-based. A person looking to remodel their old home could be sending search queries like "remodelling ideas" or "how to restore old houses".

On the consideration stage, buyers have a clearer picture of what they need. Taking from the example above, they could be searching for keywords like "cheap home remodelling contractors" or home remodelling stores near me".

Finally, on the decision stage, customers are ready to make a purchase. They're comparing prices, looking at reviews, etc.

It's important to create in-depth content around these keywords to help customers discover your brand  bringing us to the next step...

2. Decide on pillar topics


Now that you've determined your target audience and mapped out the customer journey, it's time to focus on your niche.

Derive five to ten pillar topics from your services or product categories.

For example, when providing home improvement services, you can break it down to topics like bathroom renovation, kitchen renovation, basement renovation, and home additions.

If you're having a hard time coming up with topics, use Google. Search for one topic and get ideas from related searches found at the bottom of the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

3. Consider Keyword Research Tools


Use keyword research tools, like Google Keywords Planner and SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool to generate targeted Keywords.

They also come in handy when you need new keywords for your upcoming marketing campaigns.

Use Google Analytics to determine the keywords that drive leads to your site.

Generate your site's traffic report and see what search terms and see what search terms visitors used to find you. Reserve those terms when narrowing your keyword list.

4. Narrow down your keyword list


Don't overwhelm yourself with a long list of keywords. Instead, carefully identify what search terms your target audience are using  as well as the intent behind them.

That said, take note of the following criteria:

  • Relevance and audience. Prioritise search intent. Instead of focusing on the actual keywords, identify the reasons your audience search for it in the first place. They could want more information on the product or they'd want to do comparisons before making a purchase.
  • Optimise five to six keywords per page. This is the ideal number for a small website  going overboard may result to keyword stuffing.
  • Think twice about high-volume keywords. Aside from the competition you face, high-volume keywords have higher bounce rates and low conversion rates. Instead of high-volume keywords, make sure you aim for the following criteria on the list...
  • Focus on head terms and long-tail keywords. Head terms are generic keywords with one to three words (e.g. bath remodel). Long-tail keywords are more specific with more than three words (e.g. bathroom remodelling design ideas).
  • Localise your search terms (e.g. bath remodel in Mascot, New South Wales). This helps improve your local search ranking.

    5. Keyword Mapping


    Keyword mapping is distributing your keywords to website pages to help attract more traffic to your site. It's a key feature of on-page optimisation, helping search engines like Google analyse your web pages and determine if the content aligns with searches.

    How does keyword mapping work?

    • Identify the relevance of each keyword to your pages. If two or more keywords mean the same, it is most ideal to target them on one page.
    • Create your keyword map. Use a spreadsheet and input a list of your target keywords in groups. Then add columns for the page, page URL, search volume and part of the page you've assigned each keyword (e.g. H1, Title tag, Meta description).

    Keyword mapping makes it easier to structure your website content and kickstart your content marketing strategy.

    6. Keyword Analysis


    Keyword analysis is a method of knowing the value or performance of your keywords.

    Using Google Analytics, identify the amount of traffic each keyword brings to your site. Retain highly-generating keywords, then replace those aren't by mapping new keywords. You can refer again to your initial keyword list.

    Keyword analysis is not a one-time task. Do a regular audit at least once a month to make sure you're not losing your rankings and conversions.

    Before you leave...

    Remember, integrating SEO keywords involves a lot of trial and error.

    Favourable results do not happen in the blink of an eye. Keep A/B testing your content to find the right keywords to rank high your pages on search engines. Once it happens, you'll see your SEO efforts paid off.

    6 Marketing Hacks that’ll Boost Your Ecommerce Revenue

    By Faith Lisondra |
    6 Marketing Hacks that’ll Boost Your Ecommerce Revenue


    How do you increase traffic and conversions for your ecommerce store?

    Here’s a quick answer: Ecommerce Marketing.

    Ecommerce marketing uses promotional methods to tick off three goals:

    • Attract traffic to your online store
    • Convert visitors to customers
    • Retain those customers in the long term

      In other words, ecommerce marketing goes beyond simply promoting your online store. It involves strategies that you can apply on and off your website to increase sales.

      Here are six tactics to get started.

      Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Online Store


      1. Upsell and cross-sell your products.


      Upsell and cross-sell your products.

      Upselling encourages customers to purchase an upgrade of the original item.

      Cross-selling, on the other hand, is offering related — or complementary — products of the original item.

      Both strategies are either done interchangeably or alongside each other.

      For example, a customer is looking for good leather shoes on your website. When he finds one, you can upsell by highlighting a more valuable option, such as shoes made with premium vegan leather.

      Then, cross-sell by offering accessories, like a leather cleaner or extra shoelaces.

      It’s no surprise that upselling and cross-selling increases your profits.

      But make sure to use these techniques cautiously. Consider these points to upsell and cross-sell flawlessly:
      • Make sure upsell or cross-sell items are closely related to the original product.
      • The higher price point should justify the quality of the upsell.
      • Be honest and transparent in the pricing of your upsell or cross-sell offer.
      • Show the value of your offers through testimonials or customer reviews.
      • Reward customers who took your offers with a thank-you note or discount code.

      1. Reduce abandoned carts


      Reduce abandoned carts

      There are countless reasons why customers leave their cart — from lack of payment options to security concerns.

      On average, 69% of ecommerce customers abandon their carts. Imagine the profit you’re pouring down the drain from those uncompleted purchases.

      You can explore ways to reduce cart abandonment, yet the simplest works each time — Send a reminder.

      A recovery email grabs your customers’ attention and draws them back to your website. Most of all, it converts them into paid customers.

      You can optimise your emails with the following tips:

      • Show your customers what was left in their cart.
      • Reel them in with an irresistible headline and copy.
      • Apply a sense of urgency. Let them know you have limited stock.
      • Send a discount code or a limited-time offer.

      1. Simplify your checkout page


      Simplify your checkout page

      The checkout page should only direct customers to do one thing: check out.

      Strip down your checkout page and show only the necessary info. Banners, random products, and any link that directs a customer out of your checkout page would have to go.

      You can also consider removing your website’s header and footer navigation as they are added distractions.

      Keep the checkout process simple. Putting too many custom fields for customers to fill out only encourages them to skip the process altogether.

      Simply put, making it easy for your people to check out is one foolproof way to get them to do so.

      1. Curate your offerings


      Curate your offerings

      You may think that having a myriad of products will entice customers to buy from you, but it’s actually bad news for your store.

      People are easily overwhelmed when faced with many options that they end up not buying at all.

      One of the clever ways to improve your business’ online presence is to offer premium products.

      Curate your offerings and feature only the best products. Or, add a filtering option on your catalogue for added convenience. This way, customers can easily decide what to buy and end up purchasing.

      1. Identify frustration points


      Identify frustration points

      Customer experience means everything to your online store.

      Around 89% of customers will stop doing business after a bad experience. What’s worse, most frustrated customers don’t complain — they simply leave your site.

      Identify what’s keeping customers from converting through online analytics tools.

      Google Analytics is a popular platform that tracks and analyses website traffic, bounce rates, and other insights that’ll help you understand your customers.

      Heat map tools, like Hotjar and Lucky Orange, show realtime engagement of a page on your website. They help identify which sections customers read — and which buttons they clicked — before leaving your site.

      Looking out for frustration points helps you address them better as you establish a good customer experience.

      1. Explore other platforms


      Explore other platforms

      When it seems like you’ve exhausted all efforts to boost your online store, explore other platforms.

      • Social selling

      Social sellers gain 66% greater quota than those who stick with traditional selling methods. Social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, promote your products to a wider audience.

      • Third-party ecommerce sites

      Startup online stores find it hard to drive traffic to their websites right away. Since ecommerce marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon, have a huge customer base, selling on these platforms will shoot up your sales in no time.

      • Affiliate marketing

      Finding a good affiliate associate means free marketing for your online store. While you need to pay your associates a percentage of your profits, it could make up for the sales boost. Plus, you’ll only have to pay out when a purchase is made.

      Test out your options


      A successful online business won’t happen overnight — it is an ongoing trial-and-error process.
      Find out which hacks work best for your online store. Constant data testing and analysing help you know your customers better, enhance your business, and boost your sales in the long run.

      How to Create a Killer Landing Page That Converts

      By Faith Lisondra |
      create a landing page that converts


      Thanks to digital marketing, promoting your business is easier than ever.

      At least, that’s what most business owners think — until they see they've made zero conversions on their landing page. Now, that’s a frustrating sight.

      What’s more frustrating is not knowing what went wrong. Does your headline suck? Do you need to change the button colour? The possibilities are endless!

      Here, you’ll learn how to optimise your landing page and boost your conversions. But before diving in, get to know how a landing page works and why you need one.

      How a Landing Page Works

      how a landing page works

      A landing page is not your homepage or any page on your website.

      It is a separate marketing tool whose purpose is to earn conversions. When a landing page converts, this means a visitor has completed the desired goal — either to fill out a form or make a purchase.

      It's also different from an online store. A landing page is simply a means to speed up the purchasing process while promoting a certain product. Marketers use landing pages for their Google Adwords campaigns or similar ad platforms.

      Turn Traffic into Leads


      Landing pages do more than promote your product, it also works to capture leads.

      Create a lead magnet landing page to collect prospect information such as name and email.

      Lead magnets are incentives given in exchange for a visitor’s basic contact information. It may be in the form of ebooks, webinars, PDF checklist, or any piece of digital content.

      A successful conversion helps you hit two birds with one stone — the visitor gets free stuff and you get to pull a prospect deeper into the customer funnel.

      Pro-Tips to Creating a Lead-Generating Landing Page

      tips for creating landing page

      Create a catchy headline


      The headline is the first thing that visitors see in a landing page.

      Eight out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will get to the bottom of the page. Your headline needs to catch the reader’s attention at first sight. You have a few crucial seconds to do this.

      Put your biggest proposition in your headline. It should clearly tell visitors what they get from the page. Keep it direct, but punchy and succinct.

      Remember — online readers skim through content. Make your headline too long and they can easily lose interest and hit X.

      Use a supporting headline if you need to further describe your offering.

      Pro-tip: Adding a “power word” to your headline can make a huge difference. People are more motivated to accept offers that include words like “ultimate,” “surefire,” and “top-notch.” Just use them in moderation — don’t stuff them all in one copy.

      Choose your hero image wisely


      Your hero image should show readers what they’ll get from your landing page. Choose it wisely.

      When looking for a good hero image, use one that’ll help them visualise what it’d be like if they were using it. While a photo of your product will do, a photo of your product used by a person is even better.

      Pro-tip: If your offer is too complex for a single image, consider using a video. A short demo video is a more straightforward way to showcase your product.

      List down the benefits


      Now that you’ve captured the visitor’s attention through your headline, get them to stay. This is the part where you list down benefits.

      Provide some more details that’ll answer your audience’s question of “what’s in it for me?”

      You can write your product’s features in a brief paragraph or list them in bullets for clarity. Review and edit your copy as necessary. Speak conversational English — that is to say — speak in a language that your target audience will understand.

      Pro-tip: Readability is not just about the content of your page. Make sure to choose a readable font style and colour and to test them on various devices.

      Make an irresistible call-to-action (CTA)


      The purpose of your landing page is to get visitors to click that CTA button. Make sure they don’t miss it! Give it a contrasting colour that stands out from the page.

      Meanwhile, keep your CTA copy short and simple, but steer clear of boring words like Submit or Enter. Think about what the customer will get once they click your button. For example, an “Experience the benefits” button sounds more convincing than a “Buy now” one.

      Pro-tip: Empathise with your visitors by personalising your CTA button. Think “Sign Me Up” over a boring “Submit” button on your CTA.

      Get rid of distractions


      Don’t clutter your landing page with links. Any gateway that directs visitors out of your page is a no-go (yes, that includes your site navigation). You’ll be surprised at how removing links from your landing page increases your conversion rate.

      Consider them as more competition for your CTA button.

      Pro-tip: Get rid of the sidebar, too. It’s not only a distraction; it could also ruin your landing page aesthetic.

      Add social proof


      About 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation. If you want people to sign up for your class or get your ebook, you need all the credibility you can get. Adding social proof to your landing page will make a huge difference in getting it to convert.

      You can incorporate social proof in your headline. Consider these examples:

      • Join the 1,786 franchisees who learned the art of selling.
      • 97% of customers recommend Stylized. Here’s why.

      Or, you can add social proof within your landing page:

      • Customer reviews
      • Your total number of customers
      • Trust seals, client/partner brand logos
      • Awards from trusted organisations
      • User testimonials

      Pro-tip: You can connect your Facebook and other social reviews to your landing page. This adds more credibility to your reviews, as visitors will know that they are from actual people.

      The Takeaway


      There is no one-size-fits-all formula for creating the ultimate landing page that converts.

      After all, there are many factors to consider. At the end of the day, the only way to know how well your page works is through A/B testing every change made. But when you add these essential landing page elements where they should, you’re likely to receive more favourable results.

      Why a .AU Domain is the Best Choice for Your Local Business

      By Jillian Quijano |
      .au domain

      Looking to scale your business?

      If you meet the criteria set on the auDA policy, then go ahead and secure a .AU domain.

      A .AU domain is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) specific to Australia — like how .ID is for Indonesia, .SG for Singapore, etc.

      While top-level domains like .COM or .NET are globally-recognised, a .AU extension helps you attract local markets.

      Sound good? Now let’s take a closer look at the benefits you get with a .AU domain.

      4 Awesome Benefits of a .AU Domain


      1. Establish customer trust


      establish customer trust

      Did you know that 7 out of 10 Australians prefer doing business with Australian companies?

      Let everyone know you operate in Australia with a .AU extension.

      A .AU domain is especially helpful for smaller businesses looking to establish a local presence.

      It gives the impression that you are conveniently within reach. At the same time, you get to build recognition and trust within the Australian market.

      2. Register the domain name you want




      .COM domains are constantly in high demand, making it difficult to secure your domain of choice.

      A .AU domain avoids this problem. There are currently around three million .AU domains registered. It may sound like a lot, but that's less than 1% of all registered domain names— giving you a better chance of registering the domain you want.

      3. Win over local search


      win local search

      Get ahead of the competition by winning over local search.

      ccTLDs , like .AU, are prioritised by Google. It sends signals that the website and its content targets a country or region —thus improving your search engine rankings.

      For example, business.com and business.com.au are equal in terms of ranking factors. It’s still likely for business.com.au to perform better in an Australian user’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

      4. Create a unique domain name


      unique brand

      It’s getting more and more challenging to stand out online. So give people a reason to choose — and remember — your business with a .AU domain.

      So if you’re running a web design agency in Australia, there’s no need to register as webdesignaustralia.com. Instead, you can go for a shorter and more memorable domain like webdesign.com.au.

      The URL is notably shorter and helps users remember it quickly.

      “But I’m Going Global!”


      Want to expand overseas? Naturally, you’ll earn more traffic with a top-level domain like .COM or .ORG.

      But where possible, secure a .COM.AU and a .COM extension. This way, you cater to local and international customers. Make sure you reserve both extensions early to beat your competitors and protect your brand.

      10 Steps to Bulletproofing Your Website Security

      By Jillian Quijano |


      Online security breaches have increased by 67% over the past five years.

      The truth is, cyber attacks can be devastating for your business – and they're more common than you think.

      Don’t let your business suffer at the hands of cybercriminals. Here, we list down the biggest online security threats and how you can protect your business from them.

      The Biggest Security Threats to Your Online Business

      Many security threats exist online. And when you don’t bulletproof your business as soon as possible, they could come hurtling towards you when you’re least prepared.

      Be aware of the most common online security threats that you’re likely to face in the future.

      Phishing Scams




      Phishing — one of the most widely encountered security threats online – is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information from your business.

      This scheme is usually done by sending a seemingly inconspicuous email to the potential victim requesting certain information. Since the email looks like it comes from a credible source, the recipient is tricked into providing the said information — which the attacker will then use for malicious purposes.

      DDoS Attacks




      A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to overwhelm your server or network with requests until the system cannot cope with the demand. This results in a denial-of-service to normal traffic — eventually bringing your website to a grinding halt and affecting business operations and revenue.

      Software Vulnerabilities




      There’s a reason why software companies come up with security updates for their products every now and then. Once cybercriminals discover vulnerabilities in your software, they use these to their advantage. If you don’t keep your software up-to-date, your business may be put at a much greater risk than you think.

      Password Attacks




      Hackers use several ways to crack your passwords and gain access to your website or internal systems. An example is the ”brute force” method — which involves using a computer program to generate potential passwords. With the help of password generators, hackers will start with the most commonly used passwords (e.g. Password123) until they crack the right ones and finally breach your system.

      Malicious Software




      Malware is used to weaken security measures in place. It may come in the form of viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware. If you run an ecommerce website, you are, particularly at risk.
      Malware is one of the most effective ways for hackers to obtain your customers’ sensitive data.

      10 Steps to Improve Your Website Security

      Now that you know the most common threats your business may face in the future, it's time to take action. Here are 10 simple website security changes you can do to get started:

      1. Backup Your Website




      Before going into the nitty-gritty of website security, the most important first step to make is to back up your website.

      Having a copy of your entire website — including all its contents — will keep your business up and running in no time in case of a cyber attack. When you’re running a business, any downtime can result in a decrease in profit and credibility. You know what they say: It’s better to be safe than sorry.

      2. Install Secure Socket Layers (SSL) Certificate



      An SSL certificate secures the connection between your website and the end user.

      It protects sensitive information exchanged through your website — including logins, credit card numbers, and forms. With an SSL certificate, all of these data are encrypted. This prevents hackers from intercepting these pieces of information and using them to their advantage.

      3. Update Your Software



      To reduce the likelihood of software vulnerabilities, make sure to install software updates as soon as they are released.

      If you haven't already, create a policy to manage every piece of software you're using on your website – and assign someone the task of maintaining them.

      4. Make Password Security a Priority




      Many businesses attempt to enforce a password policy, but their employees often take them for granted. Invest in educating your staff and making sure that they understand the importance of a strong password.

      Although strong passwords are an important step, they're not foolproof. The most technologically advanced cybercriminals can crack even the strongest of passwords. For this reason, it's a good idea to use tools — such as a single sign-on (SSO) and two-factor authentication — to prevent password breach.

      5. Protect Your Website Using Firewalls




      Installing a firewall will take your website protection up a notch. Since DDoS attacks are becoming a common threat to many businesses online, your website must be able to detect malicious traffic quickly and stop it before it can get to your site.

      Firewalls have been around since the beginning of network security. And many people still use them to this day simply because they get the job done.

      6. Keep Hold of Unwanted Domain Names




      If you plan to rebrand your business — or decide to change your domain name — don't just discard the old one.

      The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) says that cybercriminals can access confidential information through abandoned domain names.

      One researcher tested this theory by re-registering old domain names for merged businesses. Surprisingly, he was able to receive large amounts of confidential information — such as bank correspondence, legal documents, and invoices — without hacking.

      The takeaway is that it’s better to hold on to old domain names. As it turns out, it is the cheapest form of cybersecurity insurance policy for your business.

      7. Educate Your Employees




      Sometimes, your own employees can lead your business into cybersecurity doom — that is, if they don’t know enough.

      Employees who don’t know what a phishing email looks like or how malware works may just fall right into these traps. At the end of the day, your business will be the one suffering from their ignorance.

      As a business owner, make sure to educate every employee about the website security risks they may encounter and how to best respond to them.

      8. Make Sure You Have Email Protection




      Keeping your business secure online isn't just about protecting your website. You should also place measures to keep your emails secure.

      Email is a common platform that hackers use to breach your online security — often through malware attachments or phishing attempts.

      Prevent this by getting an Email Protection service for your emails.

      Email Protection provides anti-spam and anti-virus services — meaning your emails are filtered before the bad ones can get to you.

      9. Get Reliable Web Hosting




      Maximise your website security by getting a reliable web hosting provider that offers more than just a hosting service.

      A good web hosting provider keeps your website in secure servers and protects it from malicious online threats.

      10. Work with Security Experts




      If you don't have your own online security team yet, it’s high time to get one.

      Cybercriminals aren’t going to wait until your website is well protected. Find experts that can help you protect your business from online threats before it’s too late.

      With their expertise, these pros can help minimise website vulnerabilities, perform a full security audit, and educate the rest of your staff about cyber attacks.

      Conclusion

      You may not have encountered a cyber attack yet, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make is taking website security for granted.

      10 Clever Content Marketing Tips to Improve Your Small Business Website

      By Jillian Quijano |
      content marketing

      “Content is king”, “Content is at the heart of your marketing strategy”, “Content is good for SEO” — you’ve likely heard these statements before. So you do your research, decide to make a blog, and publish it.

      And then you learn that 183,000 new blog posts go online every hour. When that sinks in, you wonder, is content marketing worth the investment?

      Here a simple answer: It still is.

      Content marketing is more than writing a blog and hitting that publish button.

      Content marketing is the creation, publication, and distribution of materials across online channels. Your content can be anything from infographics and blogs to videos and social media posts. Think emails, tweets, landing pages — anything to promote brand awareness.

      It doesn’t stop there. You can use content to engage customers in every stage of their buyer’s journey.

      Remember, it all comes down to providing content that’s relevant, valuable and reliable to your readers.
      Does my small business really need content marketing?

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      Content marketing is a long-term strategy that benefits businesses of all sizes.

      Smaller, growing brands can leverage content marketing to establish a strong brand identity. It gives you an edge over competitors and shows your expertise on a chosen topic. Content also helps in generating new leads — increasing sales and conversions in the process.

      The best part? Content marketing doesn’t need a huge budget.

      Keep reading to learn helpful tips for a winning content marketing strategy.

      Bring Traffic to Your Website Through Content Marketing


      1. Identify your target audience



      A well-defined target audience is crucial if you want your content marketing plan to succeed.

      Even the biggest businesses can't afford to target everyone. Decide on a specific group to create highly-targeted content.

      To identify your target audience, consider who your customers are and why they want to buy from you.

      For example, you're a business selling skincare products.

      Your target audience could be women aged between 18 and 65. If you find that your anti-aging products are bestsellers, narrow down your audience further to women aged between 35 and 65.

      Take things to the next level by creating a persona out of each type of customer.

      List their demographics — age, gender, profession, behaviour, pain points, aspirations, and the like. This will help you come up with content that resonates with them.

      Here’s a sample persona for your skincare business. Add as many details as you want, as long as you paint a clear picture of what your customer is like.


      Name: Karen

      Age: 21 years old

      Gender: Female

      Profession: College student

      Location: Perth, Australia

      Behaviour
      Deals
      with a lot of deadlines for school every week
      Uses
      the internet frequently for research, communication with teachers, and
      collaboration with colleagues
      Browses
      social media to take breaks while studying
      Travels
      a lot with family and friends

      Pain Points
      Gained
      acne due to oily skin and school-related stress
      Has
      no time to take care of her skin because of prioritising school work
      Has
      a limited budget because of school fees

      Aspirations
      An effective way to get rid of her acne
      Access to skincare products that are within her budget
      A low-maintenance skincare routine that fits her schedule


        2. Create a content mind map




        A mind map helps you lay out an extensive content plan. It’s especially useful when you run out of ideas.

        Come up with umbrella topics you want to tackle, particularly ones related to your business or brand.

        For your skincare business, discuss all things under this umbrella. Next, break the umbrella topic down into topic clusters.

        Topic clusters are then broken down into:

        • Pillar posts: Say for example a prospect submits a Google search query. She wants to know how to care for her oily skin, so an example pillar post for this is “Skin Types”.
        • Subtopics: Subtopics are detailed content derived from your pillar post. Subtopics from the example include “Best Products for Oily Skin Types” or “How to Determine Your Skin Type”.

        Map your ideas with appropriate content formats by considering your marketing goals and the buyer’s journey.


        Awareness

        Consideration

        Decision

        Blogs,
        social media posts
        Educational
        content (video tutorials, tip-sheets, infographics)
        Quizzes

          Case
          studies
          Product
          spec sheets
          Catalogues
          Testimonials

            Free
            Trial
            Live
            Demo
            User
            Guides
            Newsletters


              3. Focus on evergreen content




              Evergreen content stays relevant to audiences all year round.

              It’s good to write about trending topics once in a while. From the name itself, it drives a lot of traffic — but only temporarily.

              In contrast, evergreen posts continue to accumulate traffic. Think of it as being the same as generating passive income — its always working for you in the background.

              To find evergreen topics, think about what your customers always want to know more about.

              Let’s go back to your skincare business.

              Your customers, for instance, may be wondering how to form a skincare routine that works for them. Or they could be figuring out what ingredients to look out for when buying skincare products.

              Here are some evergreen content ideas:
              • How-to posts and tutorials
              • Informational posts and guides
              • Industry FAQs
              • Feature stories

              4. Produce a content calendar




              Finding content ideas, creating and then publishing them on a regular basis is a challenge.

              To make things easier, create a content calendar. Marketers use calendars to get a birds-eye view of their overall content plan. It also helps you maintain a consistent flow of content throughout your website.

              Set aside a part of your week for producing content. Then, schedule the day and time for each of them to be published. Make sure to have a regular schedule and follow it as faithfully as you can.

              In choosing your posting schedule, consider the times when you can earn the greatest amount of audience. A Kissmetrics study reveals that the average blog post receives the most traffic on a Monday and at around 11 am.

              But, don’t hesitate to adjust your posting schedule when you need to. Conduct A/B testing to determine when your posts get a lot of traffic.

              You can also use online tools that help you maintain a content calendar. For blog posts, avail of content management systems like Wordpress. For social media posts, use apps like Hootsuite and Buffer.

              5. Take a smarter approach to your keywords




              If you’re new to keyword research, you may be surprised to learn that the most common, generic keywords don’t always generate the best results.

              Unless you’re a major brand, aiming for killer keywords doesn’t pay dividends. Instead, focus on long tail and localised keywords. Both types have less competition, which means you’ll have an easier time ranking for them.

              For example, for your skincare business, using the word "skincare" is far more challenging than phrases such as "skincare products in Canberra."

              At the same time, don’t aim for long tail keywords that are downright ridiculous. If the keywords you’re focusing on are not even what users type in search engines, they’re not worth your efforts.

              6. Don’t forget social media




              Social media is where most people are at. It’s one of the best avenues for your content to reach your desired audience.

              Follow these tips in using social media for content marketing:

              Choose the right social media channels

              Managing content for several channels can take a lot of time and effort. Use only the channels that fit your content marketing strategy.

              Determine your content formats

              Social media platforms house different content formats. Go over the content you’ve created, then match them to the right social media channel.

              Here are some platforms with the content formats that suit them best:
              • Facebook: Live videos, 30-45 second videos, curated content, blog posts
              • Instagram: Hi-res images, videos, stories
              • LinkedIn: Quick, informative videos, high-quality blog posts, company news
              • Pinterest: Infographics, photo guides, “Pin-worthy” posts such as images, videos, etc.
              Create a posting schedule

              Schedules are important when posting content on social media. Like in your content calendar, determine the most favourable time for your content to get as much reach as possible.

              Sprout Social reveals that it's best to post on Wednesdays at 11 am and 1 pm on Facebook. Meanwhile, the best posting time on Instagram is on Wednesdays at 11 am and Fridays from 10 to 11 am. On Twitter, it’s best to post on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 am.

              7. Do something different




              The volume of content distributed online means that the same messages are often parroted. As such, it’s worth trying to stand out from the crowd.

              Don’t be afraid to do something different or edgy. This increases your chances of people sharing your content, resulting in more traffic.

              Behind-the-scenes videos are a good example. It generates palpable excitement for a new product or service and shows a human side to your brand.

              For your skincare business, give your readers a sneak peek into the creation of your newest product. Allow them to get a feel of what inspired you, the ingredients you used, and the benefits of trying it.

              While focusing your content on behind-the-scenes, remember that your potential customers may have questions. Get ready to reply to comments on your site or social media channels. Customers love quick responses.

              8. Position yourself as an industry expert




              Think of an issue that’s important to you. Then, focus on the website or personality you’d turn to for guidance on that issue.

              Chances are, you’re thinking of industry experts.

              People are more likely to buy your products and services when you’re an established expert. Of course, becoming an expert isn’t a process that’ll happen overnight. But consistently producing content that’s fact-filled, useful, and informative will get you there.

              Aside from producing content that’s useful, invite your audience to engage with you. Encourage them to ask questions on social media, answer questions on Quora, and hold live Q and A sessions using social media platforms.

              When you constantly show that you know what you’re talking about, you generate a sense of trust your competitors won’t be able to rival. As a result, you’ll attract more customers and clients.

              9. Connect with influencers



              Whether you’re an established expert or not, getting a hand from an influencer makes your sales rocket. In the last year, 86% of marketers have turned to influencers to boost their marketing efforts.

              Why should you tap into an influencer’s audience?

              Influencers promote an aspirational lifestyle their fans crave. When those fans see your product or services on their feed, they’ll want to try them too.

              The type of influencer you work with will be dictated by your budget. As a cost-friendly starting point, collaborate with micro-influencers.

              Micro-influencers may have a smaller following compared to the big influencers of today. But, this turns out to be their strength, as it's easier for them to engage with their fanbase, making their fans more dedicated.

              That, and they don't cost a lot.

              10. Use the right analytics tools




              Finally, don’t forget to analyse the performance of your content. Measure the results of each of your published content so you’ll know what strengths to leverage and what improvements to apply.

              Most social media platforms — like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — have integrated analytics tools. Use these to track how your posts in each platform are performing.

              For your website, consider installing Google Analytics to know how much traffic you’re earning and where they’re coming from.

              Conclusion

              Loads of content may be added to the internet every single day. But, with a good content marketing strategy, your content may just be the one to rule them all. Content is king, but let your content be the king.

              Find out more ways to bring traffic to your website now through our Online Marketing packages.