WannaCry – How can I protect my business against the next attack?

May 18th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

Consider these facts:

  • Ransomware attacks doubled in 2015.
  • The FBI estimated that ransomware would net criminals $1 billion in 2016.
  • And it may be worse in 2017.

The latest Ransomware is called WannaCry, and more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries have been affected, locking people out of their data and demanding they pay a ransom or lose everything. Victims include hospitals, banks, telecommunications companies, and warehouses.

How do I protect my machine?

If you’re running a Windows PC, make sure all your software is up-to-date. Also, don’t open suspicious emails, click on links or open any files you weren’t expecting.

How can I protect my business against the next attack?

  1. Apply Windows Patches when they come out. For example, in March, Microsoft released a security update which addressed the vulnerability from
  2. Make sure your business uses a good Antivirus that is kept up-to-date.
  3. Those who have Windows Update enabled are usually protected against most attacks.
  4. Update your Windows Operating System to the latest Windows 10
  5. Have backups for all your business files. (off-site backups are even better)
  6. Secure your business by moving to a Data Center with a plan to get updates and backups automatically done for you.

Connecticut Sees Few Data Centers

May 10th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

As the digital age gives way to more and more users demanding fast, powerful and reliable computing, the business of commercial data centers is benefiting from that surge.

The facilities are the backbone of data-driven industries like finance, technology and government. More recently, they have become known for being the underlying apparatuses behind high-frequency trading, the focus of the latest book by journalist Michael Lewis and the talk of Wall Street last week. By strategically placing their servers in the same data centers used by exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange, high-frequency traders receive market information milliseconds faster than average investors. Known as co-location, the practice more broadly (and benignly) refers to businesses renting space under a shared roof for servers and other hardware.

All told, there are 2,651 colocation centers in the United States, according to Datacenters.com, a website that tracks the growth of data centers across the globe. About 20 percent, or 555, can be found in the Northeast. Within the region, New York leads the way with 188 data centers, followed by New Jersey with 100. Further north, Massachusetts has 96.

Connecticut trails behind with only 17 colocation data centers, a surprisingly small number given Fairfield County’s position in the financial services industry, and the number of mid-sized companies that would rather co-locate than build their own data centers.

The Computer Company’s Data Center is unique.

The Computer Company’s data center with a SSAE16 Type II, stands out from other data centers. (Formerly called SAS 70 Type II Certification)

SSAE16 Type II, (formerly SAS 70 Type II Certification) is a widely recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  By obtaining a SSAE16 Type II, (formerly SAS 70 Type II Certification) an auditor is attesting that an organization underwent a thorough examination process which audited their control objectives (the IT functions that protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data).

How can you be sure the data center that is storing your critical information is providing the necessary controls to safeguard that data? We live in a global economy with fierce competition. A SSAE16 Type II, (formerly SAS 70 Type II Certification) is one method of ensuring best practices are implemented to comply with industry standards.

A consistent supply of power is critical to Data Center operations. We provide this power to independently control uninterruptible power supplies that provide conditioned power to individual racks. The main power is backed up by a natural gas generator fed from a multi-million gallon storage facility located within 1 mile of our facility. In essence, the generator can provide power to the Data Center indefinitely.

  • The Computer Company’s Data Center is protected by video surveillance which provides 24×7 monitoring of both the interior and exterior of the facility.
  • Includes a security-vestibule (man-trap) prevents unauthorized access to the Data Center floor, and card-key and biometrics provide authorization and authentication.
  • The facility also employs modern environmental controls and FM 200 fire suppression system.
  • The Computer Company’s top-of-the-line Data Center facility guarantees the power infrastructure that will keep your business up and running with high speed internet access that can handle any bandwidth.

Our Data Center customers consistently cite our hosting reliability, flexibility and responsiveness, and staff expertise as the reasons they prefer The Computer Company’s Data Center services.

Call us to find out more about how this service can benefit your business.

800.418.2358

Cromwell Location
15 Commerce Drive
Cromwell, CT 06416
860.635.0500

http://www.computercompany.net/DataCenter.htm

Email Attack Hits Google: What to Do if You Clicked

May 4th, 2017 by TCC No comments »
Re-posted: This article is in the New York Times today.
By Nicole Perlroth, MAY 3, 2017

Google said it was investigating an email scam winding its way through inboxes across the country and had disabled the accounts responsible for the spam.

The scheme emerged Wednesday afternoon, when spammers dispatched malicious email, appearing to come from people the recipients knew, beckoning them to click on what appeared to be a shared Google document.

Recipients who clicked on the links were prompted to give the sender access to their Google contact lists and Google Drive. In the process, victims allowed spammers to raid their contact lists and send even more email.

“We are investigating a phishing email that appears as Google Docs,” Google said statement posted on Twitter. “We encourage you to not click through and report as phishing within Gmail.”

It is not clear who created the spam email or how many people it has affected.

In a second statement, on Wednesday evening, Google said that it had disabled the accounts responsible for the spam, updated its systems to block it and was working on ways to prevent such an attack from recurring.

A screen shot of an email received by a New York Times reporter on Wednesday that included a link that appeared to be for a Google document. (Identifying information has been redacted.)

If you receive suspicious email, here are some tips:

1. Do not click, even when the email is from your mother.

Even when you receive links from trusted contacts, be careful what you click. Spammers, cybercriminals and, increasingly, nation-state spies are resorting to basic email attacks, known as spear phishing, which bait victims into clicking on links that download malicious software, or lure them into turning over their user names and passwords.

A quarter of phishing attacks studied last year by Verizon were found to be nation-state spies trying to gain entry into their target’s inboxes, up from the 9 percent of attacks reported in 2016.

In this case, the malicious emails all appeared to come from a contact, but were actually from the address “hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com” with recipients BCCed.

2. Turn on multifactor authentication.

Google and most other email, social media and banking services offer customers the ability to turn on multifactor authentication. Use it. When you log in from an unrecognized computer, the service will prompt you to enter a one-time code texted to your phone. It is the most basic way to prevent hackers from breaking into your accounts with a stolen password.

3. Shut it down.

If you accidentally clicked on the Google phishing attack and gave spammers third-party access to your Google account, you can revoke their access by following these steps:

Go to https://myaccount.google.com/permissions

Revoke access to “Google Docs” (the app will have access to contacts and drive).

4. Change your passwords … again.

If you’ve been phished, change your passwords to something you have never used before. Ideally, your passwords should be long and should not be words that could be found in a dictionary. The first things hackers do when breaking into a site is use computer programs that will try every word in the dictionary. Your email account is a ripe target for hackers because your inbox is the key to resetting the passwords of, and potentially breaking into, dozens of other accounts.

Make your password long and distinctive. Security specialists advise creating anagrams based on song lyrics, movie quotations or sayings. For example, “The Godfather” movie quotation “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli,” becomes LtG,tTcannol1.

5. Report it.

Report any phishing attacks to Google by clicking the downward arrow at the top right of your inbox and selecting “Report Phishing.” Companies count on those reports to investigate such scams and stop them.

If you need help or think you may have this Google Attack, call us immediately.

 

Must Read: 5 likely cyber attacks

April 26th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

The 5 cyber attacks you’re most likely to face.

We found this great story, and wanted to repost it for you.

Don’t be distracted by the exploit of the week. Invest your time and money defending against the threats you’re apt to confront.

The threats companies think they face are often vastly different than the threats that pose the greatest risk. The fact is most companies face the same threats — and should be doing their utmost to counteract those risks. Here are the five most common successful cyber attacks.

Cyber attack No. 1: Socially engineered Trojans

Socially engineered Trojans provide the No. 1 method of attack (not an exploit or a misconfiguration or a buffer overflow). An end-user browses to a website usually trusted — which prompts him or her to run a Trojan. Most of the time the website is a legitimate, innocent victim that has been temporarily compromised by hackers. Usually, the website tells users they are infected by viruses and need to run fake antivirus software. Also, they’re nearly out of free disk space and need a fake disk defragger. Finally, they must install an otherwise unnecessary program, often a fake Adobe Reader or an equally well-known program. The user executes the malware, clicking past browser warnings that the program could possibly be harmful. Voilà, exploit accomplished! Socially engineered Trojans are responsible for hundreds of millions of successful hacks each year. Against those numbers, all other hacking types are just noise.

Countermeasure: Social engineered Trojans are best handled through end-user education that’s informed by today’s threats (such as trusted websites prompting users to run Trojans). Enterprises can further protect themselves by not allowing elevated users to surf the Web or answer email. An up-to-date anti-malware program can’t hurt, but strong end-user education provides better bang for the buck.

Cyber attack No. 2: Unpatched software

Coming in a distant second is software with known, but unpatched exploits. The most common unpatched and exploited programs are Java, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Flash. It’s been this way for a few years now. But strangely, not a single company I’ve ever audited has ever had these three programs perfectly patched. I just don’t get it.

Countermeasure: Stop what you’re doing right now and make sure your patching is perfect. If you can’t, make sure it’s perfect around the top most exploited products, including Java, Adobe, browser admins, OS patches, and more. Everyone knows that better patching is a great way to decrease risk. Become one of the few organizations that actually does it.

Cyber attack No. 3: Phishing attacks

Approximately 70 percent of email is spam. Fortunately, anti-spam vendors have made great strides, so most of us have reasonably clean inboxes. Nonetheless, I get several spam emails each day, and a least a few of them each week are darned good phishing replicas of legitimate emails.

I think of an effective phishing email as a corrupted work of art: Everything looks great; it even warns the reader not to fall for fraudulent emails. The only thing that gives them away is the rogue link asking for confidential information.

Countermeasure: Decreasing risk from phishing attacks is mostly accomplished through better end-user education — and with better anti-phishing tools. Make sure your browser has anti-phishing capabilities. I also love browsers that highlight the domain name of a host in a URL string. That way windowsupdate.microsoft.com.malware.com, for example, is more obvious.

Cyber attack No. 4: Network-traveling worms

Computer viruses aren’t much of a threat anymore, but their network-traveling worm cousins are. Most organizations have had to fight worms like Conficker and Zeus. We don’t see the massive outbreaks of the past with email attachment worms, but the network-traveling variety is able to hide far better than its email relatives.

Countermeasure: Network-traveling worms can be defeated by blocking executables in email, better patching, disabling auto-run capabilities, and strong password policies. Many network worms, like Conficker, will try to exploit network shares by logging on using a list of built-in, bad passwords: 12345, password2, qwerty, and the like. If any of your passwords are listed in the password manifest inside of a worm, you do not have a strong password policy.

Cyber attack No. 5: Advanced persistent threats

Lastly, I only know of one major corporation that has not suffered a major compromise due to an APT (advanced persistent threat) stealing intellectual property. APTs usually gain a foothold using socially engineered Trojans or phishing attacks. A very popular method is for APT attackers to send a very specific phishing campaign — known as spear-phishing — to multiple employee email addresses. The phishing email contains a Trojan attachment, which at least one employee is tricked into running. After the initial execution and first computer takeover, APT attackers can compromise an entire enterprise in a matter of hours. It’s easy to accomplish, but a royal pain to clean up.

Countermeasure: Detecting and preventing an APT can be difficult, especially in the face of a determined adversary. All the previous advice applies, but you must also learn to understand the legitimate network traffic patterns in your network and alert on unexpected flows. An APT doesn’t understand which computers normally talk to which other computers, but you do. Take the time now to start tracking your network flows and get a good handle of what traffic should going from where to where. An APT will mess up and attempt to copy large amounts of data from a server to some other computer where that server does not normally communicate.When they do, you can catch them. There are other popular attack types, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, pass-the-hash, and password guessing, but they aren’t seen nearly at the same high levels as the five listed here. Protect yourself against the top five threats and you’ll go a long way to decreasing risk in your environment.

More than anything, I strongly encourage every enterprise to make sure its defenses and mitigations are aligned with the top threats.
Don’t be one of those companies that spends money on high-dollar, high-visibility projects while the bad guys continue to sneak in using routes that could have easily been blocked.

This story, “The 5 cyber attacks you’re most likely to face,” was originally published at InfoWorld.com By Roger A. Grimes


Moving Your Company to the Cloud

April 20th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

The buzz word is out there and everyone is doing it.
Now it’s time for you to take the first step.

Today users can work without knowing the location and other details of the computing infrastructure. Cloud computing services and cloud storage deliver software applications, data access, data administration and storage for everyday businesses saving time and money. Because your server will be part of the cloud you will access your data from anywhere at any time.

Do you require a hosting company that is flexible enough to meet your unique environment? The Computer Company will work with you to architect a design that provides the necessary bandwidth, processing power and storage so your business can seamlessly operate in the cloud.

There are many benefits to moving your business to the cloud:
  • Flexibility of connection options. Access to your data while you are off-site, employees can connect to their virtual office, quickly and easily.
  • Automatic updates. Latest technology, up-to-date software, servers upgrades and computer processing power.
  • Reduced costs (everyone’s favorite!). Moving to cloud computing usually will reduce your cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems.
  • Flexibility for sizing. Your business will have the flexibility required as your needs change for your software and storage.
  • Business continuity. You can relax knowing that you are protecting your data and systems.
  • Collaboration efficiency. Employees can communicate and share work more easily.
The points below are from an article written by James A. Martin, PCWorld contributing editor

Cloud Computing.

For some, the term is wildly nebulous. For others, cloud computing instantly raises concerns about security and reliability. After all, Gmail, a popular cloud-based e-mail service has endured some high-profile outages.

Before you dismiss the cloud as a lot of vapor, though, listen to what small-business people told us about their experiences with it:

  • “We saved over $4000 in up-front costs by moving to an entirely cloud-based solution [for e-mail, Web hosting, virus protection, and more]. We were also able to substantially reduce our power bill and the costs needed to maintain and upgrade hardware.”
  • “As a non-IT person, I find cloud-based applications easier to set up and use than many computer applications, and I don’t need to rely on internal IT support as much for assistance.”
  • “A power surge nearly destroyed our in-house e-mail server. Had we not recovered it, a great deal of historical knowledge and valuable information would have been lost forever, not to mention the lost productivity for days or weeks. Now we have a secure, redundant, cloud e-mail system we can access anywhere, anytime, with a consistent interface, and it’s made our business stronger.”

Small businesses looking to cut computing costs and improve efficiency are finding the many benefits of Internet-based software and services increasingly attractive. Cloud computing evolved as a term to describe free or subscription-based services delivered in real time over the Internet.

Cloud Computing can refer to software as a service, to file storage, synchronization, backup, other utility computing, and to infrastructure as a service.

 

Email Encryption: Ensure Your Communications Are Safe & Confidential

April 12th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

When sending emails to customers, employees, or business partners, your business has to ensure that any sensitive information you send is completely secure.

Every industry in today’s marketplace has a need for encrypted email communications – simply hoping that no unwelcome eyes are viewing your information is not enough. Keep your emails completely confidential with The Computer Company’s encrypted email services.

Encrypting Your Emails is Easy.

Once our email encryption services are implemented, securing your emails is simple. With a click of a button, your emails can be encrypted and decrypted. Receivers of your encrypted email only have to go to a secure site and create an account to view your email. Once your email receiver has an account, they just login to view any of your subsequent encrypted emails. Your email encryption is easy, simple, and fast thanks to The Computer Company. Best of all, it’s guaranteed to be secure. While other companies may have to worry about hacking, phishing, and other digital threats, your company can rest easy knowing your communications are under lock and key.

Email Encryption Is Especially Important For…

Finance

Whether you’re in the finance industry, or simply handle a lot of money in your day-to-day business dealings, email encryption is key to ensure financial information is secure.

Government

Government entities need to be more concerned than the average organization about security and privacy of information. Our email encryption services can handle thousands upon thousands of encrypted emails and receiver accounts. The public trusts you – and you can trust us.

Healthcare

Patient information is one of the most sensitive issues in the medical field. This is true whether you are a hospital, a clinic, or an insurance company. Allowing this sensitive information to fall in the wrong hands can lead to legal troubles, emotional harm, and even patient illness or death.

Law Firms

Email is the staple of a law firm’s internal and external communications. We provide you with the security you need, the ease of use your partners, associates and staff want, and robust support to keep everything running flawlessly so you can concentrate on running your practice.

Your company can’t afford to have your private and confidential information hijacked by a hacker or a competitor. Don’t risk your security – call ( 800) 418 2358 today to learn more about our secure email encryption service.

Get both Spam and email Encryption for $4/per user.

info@computercompany.net

 

Hundreds of various sized businesses and organizations in 30+ industries utilize our services in MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ.

The Computer Company (TCC) enables organizations to gain full advantage of IT to increase efficiencies, improve effectiveness, and reach new goals. Our TCC team of highly experienced, knowledgeable technology and design professionals will work closely with you. We provide the analysis, expertise, tools, and monitoring to help you solve your toughest business challenges through IT solutions.
Find out how you can save thousands of dollars a year by choosing The Computer Company’s server co-location packages.

We offer dedicated servers, data backup, migration and managed hosting services.

 

 

Lights, Camera, Video; How to Add Videos to Your Marketing Mix On Your Website

April 5th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

Should You Add Videos to Your Website?

Stop and think for a minute, how many online videos have you watched lately?

Online videos are a key part of your small business marketing plan. A recent survey by ta consulting firm found 90% of consumer respondents watch video content over the Internet. And that’s not surprising, considering video giant YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and it boasts millions of viewers. So how can you make video marketing a part of your promotional efforts? How can you secure a share of that viewership to promote your content and boost your sales? Let’s find out.

Keep it short:

Viewership online may be high, but attention spans are low. With all the quick links and promotions floating around any given page of the Internet, users very quickly tune out when watching long, drawn out lectures or sales pitches. Your video should focus on a single and simple call-to-action. What do you want your viewer to know or do? Then find a way to present that idea in a short and entertaining way. Creates a six-second looping video and can be used to show off the best parts of your product quickly.

Pull back the curtain:

One of the best opportunities you have when using video is to put a human face to your business. By filming your videos  around the office, you give people a better sense of the company they’re interacting with and purchasing from. Consumers love seeing the inner workings of a business, even if it’s just a glance. Additionally, if you have a fun work environment or an interesting product creation process, show it off.

Video tutorials are a great way to bring consumers to your content while teaching them ways to succeed with your product. For  example, if you’re a florist and want to show people easy ways to create a bouquet, make a video tutorial about it, this not only shows potential customers how you go through your process, but also showcases your  talents. Then end the video with your brand and business info. Tutorials are one of the best uses for video and will bring consumers who are searching for how to do something right to your page, where your product or solution is waiting.

Creating videos for your small business marketing has never been easier with video on smartphones, and apps like Vine or Instagram. You can create short, fun and helpful videos to post on your YouTube page or embed on your website. To learn more about using video to promote your business, contact us for a free evaluation of your web marketing efforts and how we can increase your sales.

Discover the overall strength and effectiveness of your website.

30 Second Test – Things to look for:

  • Does your website communicate your message clearly?
  • At the end of the day, what do you want your website to do?
  • Does your website effectively explain your product/service?
  • How do your clients react to your website? Do they like it?
  • What does your sales staff say about your website? Does it help or hurt them?
  • Do you know If people are even using your website?
  • What do visitors do while on your website?
  • Bottom line, all websites have a call-to-action, even if it is to click on the next link or read the next page. Is your call-to-action getting you results?

If one or more of these questions cause you concern, call today at

1-800-418-2358

 

What You Don’t Know About SEO Can Hurt Your Business

March 30th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

Search engine optimization–the use of keywords and other techniques designed to elevate a website to the top of a search–is the make-or-break factor for many new businesses. It is also the web’s unfolding, and unregulated, frontier.

There are countless SEO strategists, consultants and self-professed experts who will claim they can raise your site up into Google’s top 10 search results–for a price. Unscrupulous SEO firms not only make promises they can’t keep, the worst of them also use shady practices that might produce no traffic, deliver the wrong traffic or even get you banned from Google. For the startup owner who isn’t well versed in SEO, hiring an SEO consultant is one of the more vulnerable moments in launching a new business..

The Right Keywords
Google, of course, is the web-search alpha dog. But all the others Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, Lycos–are sniffing out the same stuff.What gets their attention? Good, fresh, focused content. Adding a blog is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to bulk up on content. If you sell hair-removal devices, for instance, start a blog that explores all aspects of waxing, plucking, threading, electrolysis and so on. Over time, your site will accrue searchable heft.

The trick is to be hyper-conscious of your keywords. For example, if you want web surfers on the prowl for “eyebrow waxing” to find your site in search engine results, organically work the exact phrase “eyebrow waxing” into each blog post (maybe multiple times), and use it on all static pages related to eyebrow waxing. Lather, rinse and repeat with every term and phrase you want to rank for.

Before you start writing content, though, research and plan your keyword attack. Is geography important to finding your customers? Then maybe “Connecticut eyebrow waxing” is the phrase you want to home in on. How do you size up keyword quality? One method is to use Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool , which reveals how many monthly searches are conducted for a word or phrase. If a search term produces more than 50,000 searches in a month, it will be difficult for your site to compete for Google’s attention using that word or phrase. But you can also use AdWords like a thesaurus: It handily delivers a list of alternatives for you to sift through to find lower-volume, but more focused, keyword phrases. Using those, you’ll have a better chance of rising up the ranks. Google also has a search-keyword tool that will scan your existing site and suggest keywords.

Relevant Page Titles
So now it’s page titles–the line of text that appears at the top of your web browser–that are believed to be the most important few words in the SEO universe. (The title is also what shows up on Google’s search result.) A page title tag field is standard on most blog programs, including TypePad and WordPress ; any web programmer should be able to customize one for sites built on Drupal or Joomla , two popular content management systems. Another place to plant keywords is each page’s description field. Customize the description for each page of your site, and write them with some care, because the first 120 characters show up on Google, tucked between the page title and address. Plugging keywords into all these critical spots is time-consuming–but it isn’t rocket science. Getting it done, even if you need to update existing pages, shouldn’t be expensive.

Getting the Links
So what might be a good use of your SEO dollars? One word: Links. Google uses about 200 data points when sizing up your website. But one of them is whether you’re popular with the in crowd. If reputable websites link to your content, Google smiles upon you.

Need more information or would you like a
free SEO evaluation of your website, please contact us today

Telephone: 800 418 2358 or info@computercompany.net

Top 7 Real Security Threats You Face

March 23rd, 2017 by TCC No comments »

 2017 Security Predictions – The Threats Are Real

While 2016 was a banner year for cyberattacks, hold onto your boots, 2017 should be a wild ride as well. We’ll see escalations of current threats and brand new attack vectors.

  • Will the first ever Ransomworm spread through networks like wildfire?
  • Will your IoT device become the de facto target for zombie botnets?
  • Nation-state hacking and the Cyber Cold War have gone mainstream following the recent U.S Presidential election, and the public’s’ interest is at an all-time high.
  • Will we see the first civilian casualty in the Cyber Cold War?

Find out what WatchGuard’s Chief Technology Officer, Corey Nachreiner, thinks are the top 7 threats we face in 2017.

Check out the infographic to see the top 7 threats we face.


Source: 2017 Security Predictions (Infographic)

Future-Proof Ideas for Websites

March 15th, 2017 by TCC No comments »

When you’re talking about the future it’s hard not to get carried away. The future of almost everything seems exciting. Futuristic cars, houses, television, and of course, websites, will seemingly be able to perform almost any function, thanks to creativity and advances in technology.

But instead of focusing on the technology side of the future, focus on the human side. Human behavior is a more consistent bet than technology. If we prepare our website for the future with human nature in mind, we will put our organization in a good position regardless of how the flood of technology leaves things.

Future-proof ideas for websites

If we bet on technology, we can either be really right, or really, really wrong. But if we bet on human nature, we can count on consistency and know that our website is going to be well-positioned for the future.

The website of the future must be:

  • Simple
  • Mobile
  • Fast
  • Human
  • Useful and/or interesting

1. Make it simple

People value simplicity. Every day, more than 100 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook. More than 90 million Tweets are Tweeted. About 50,000 new blogs are created to get stacked on top of the 150 million+ that are already out there. As you read this, some of the 294 billion emails that are sent each day are being written.

We’re in an era of information overload. Our audience members are busy people who are overcommitted *outside* of their Internet lives. It’s a small miracle each time they make it to our sites so we shouldn’t overwhelm them once they get there.

The first step in preparing your website for the future happens offline. Websites are often a reflection of the organization that created them. If our organization is disorganized, and poor at communicating, our website will be, too. Design by committee often results in a battlefield of compromise where your visitor is the casualty. As an organization, we must go through the difficult task of truly answering some basic but powerful questions:

  • What kind of person is my audience member?
  • What’s the one thing they actually want from me?
  • What one action do I want them to take?

There are no Swiss army-knife sites We need to simplify, specialize and stick to our core mission or risk becoming irrelevant.

If the future of the web is simplicity, here’s how you can prepare:

  • Boil down your organization’s core offering
  • Conduct a website audit: check for competing initiatives on your own site
  • Check your analytics to see where you are losing visitors

2. Make it portable

People value convenience.

The world is going mobile in a hurry. You’ve heard the stats. By 2015, 63% of U.S. citizens will browse the mobile web. Nearly 150 million people will own smartphones and mobile traffic will increase 26-fold.

Mobile isn’t a trend. Mobile is the trend.

But the web isn’t just going to mobile devices, it’s going to any screen that can present the internet. Think kiosks, augmented-reality digital signage, screens we haven’t thought of yet. The web is going to be portable: found wherever a digital screen exists.

When you’re creating a mobile version of your website (which should be your priority over running out to create a mobile app just to create one), the simplicity you gained in step 1 (“Make it simple) will help pave the way for you to create a simpler menu that satisfies your audience members desires on your site.

To prepare your site for mobile:

  • Start thinking now about how you’d simplify your navigation menu and site content
  • Discontinue developing Flash elements into your website, focus on HTML or JavaScript
  • Focus on mobile-friendly first

3. Make it fast

People hate waiting

Nobody likes to stand in line. Waiting is tough for people. That’s why 40% of web users have abandoned a page after 5 seconds of loading.

Taking the steps to making sure our sites load quickly will have benefits to user experience and SEO. People are more likely to click through more on quickly-loading sites. And Google has mentioned that they take load speed into consideration in their algorithm.

Remember, simple sites load faster. And this is even more true (and more important) in mobile.

To get your site sped up for the future:

  • Check site load speed
  • Create a checklist of tweaks to apply to your current site

4. Make it human

People crave human interaction

We’ve heard the statistics on social media. And to be fair, a lot of organizations are at least trying social media. But the humanization of your website shouldn’t be limited to your social media pre-approved channels.

Social media – or the human element – should be a layer across your digital presence, not channel-based. Humanity evokes emotion from people. Showing the human side of your organization can have many benefits.

For instance, during a Fund donation drive, an A/B split test was conducted to see which donation form was more effective and generating donations. One form had a photo, the other did not. The one with the photo – the human – element – converted 10% better and resulted in $1 million more in donations.

The social side of your organization can come out anywhere you have content. Your email subscription thank you, your administrative copy, your error messages can all incorporate the human element.

For instance, a error message was written in a more human-friendly way and decreased the bounce rate by 66%

If the future of the web is social, here’s how to prepare:

  • Take inventory of your social media outposts: are you acting like a logo or a person?
  • Investigate where your audience socializes online
  • Start monitoring social media to keep tabs on influencers and your audience

5. Be useful or interesting

People love a good story

An article this long has to include the cliché “content is king” at least once so here it is: content is king. In a recent survey, 73% of people said they preferred to learn about organizations through articles as opposed to ads. Content is 61% more likely to drive someone to make a purchase than ads, and content can live forever on your website.

  • The power of a good story is strong.
  • And content can pay dividends down the road for your site. A Tweet or Facebook post usually only lasts for hours. A blog post can last for years.
  • The future of the web is storytelling, so start generating content that captivates your audience because it’s useful or interesting (or both!)
  • If you want to prepare for the future of the web, focus on human nature. Make it simple, portable, fast, social, useful and interesting you’ll be ahead of the race.

Put your website to the test!

30 Second Test – Things to look for:

  • Does your website communicate your message clearly?
  • At the end of the day, what do you want your website to do?
  • Does your website effectively explain your product/service?
  • How do your clients react to your website? Do they like it?
  • What does your sales staff say about your website? Does it help or hurt them?
  • Does your website sell for you the way you want it to?
  • Do you know If people are even using your website?
  • What do visitors do while on your website?
  • Bottom line, all websites have a call-to-action, even if it is to click on the next link or read the next page. Is your call-to-action getting you results?

If one or more of these questions cause you concern, call us today at 1-800-418-2358 and let’s get your website ticking again.

The Computer Company, Inc.
15 Commerce Drive, Cromwell, CT
(860) 635-0500