internet safety tips

Top 9 Internet Safety Tips to Stay Safe

The internet carries a wide range of possibilities. In fact, about 5 percent of people have their entire careers based online, working from home.
However, the internet is not all nice weather and roses. Many dangers exist online, and the more time you spend on the computer, the more at risk you are. If you follow the internet safety tips below, you can save yourself from headaches and frustration in the future.

The Best Internet Safety Tips: Use Strong Passwords

The best passwords are not long random strings of letters and numbers, but rather phrases. This is because they are easily remembered. A password such as “she sells seashells down by the seashore” is long and not cracked quickly by a computer program.

Use Many Passwords

Beyond using a long, but easy to remember, password, you should have a few that you switch out. Having a rotation of four or five passwords used across different accounts helps protect against hacking – or like 20 percent of all Americans, use a unique password for each account. This is because if someone gains access to your email account with one password, they won’t have instant access to other accounts using that same password.

Use Antivirus Software…

The first tip is to have antivirus software installed on your computer. These programs will catch and delete viruses and programs that can harm your computer or steal personal information.

…And Update It Too

The second tip is to keep that software updated. New updates have new definitions of viruses and can look for new programs, keeping your computer safe from the newest threats.

Limit Personal Information

When filling out information on websites and for your emails. make sure that you limit how much you share with others. Simple things, like your name, are likely fine, but your marital status, home address and home phone number are less likely to be relevant. Keep relationships professionals, and treat people who push for additional information about yourself at a distance.

Use Several Email Addresses

You should also split apart your work and personal selves across at least two email addresses. This protects you from spam and fishing attempts, especially if you only connect your personal and professional information to a single one.

Don’t Click Ads and Email Links

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid clicking on random ads and pop-ups. This includes clicking on links within emails unless you were expecting them.
Warnings from your bank or other large social media sites may be fishing attempts to get your password. Instead, go to the official site and log in to see if there are any alerts.

Careful Downloading

You should also always be careful when downloading files from the internet, or from emails. Never open attachments from people that you don’t know.
If you have antivirus software, you should always scan new downloads before you open them to catch viruses before they can damage your computer.

Don’t Connect to Public Wifi

You should avoid using your laptop with public wifi networks. While free wifi services at coffee shops are likely secure, you should stay away from other free networks that you don’t recognize.
Connecting to these networks can allow people to access your files and other information on your computer, even stealing your passwords to certain accounts.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the internet safety tips, reach out to us for help in securing your personal information.

choosing a web hosting

How to Choose the Best Web Hosting Service

There are countless web hosting options available to website owners. Because the web industry has grown over the years, selecting the perfect service is difficult. Before choosing a web hosting provider, you should be aware that you’re selecting a trustworthy company.

You may opt for a hosting service because of their cheap prices, but there are other things you should keep in mind. It is necessary to be aware of certain factors before making your purchasing decision. Here’s a quick rundown to help you select a hosting provider that fits your requirements.

1. Read Reviews When Choosing a Web Hosting Service

Not knowing how to choose a web host can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is a good idea to use the recommendations offered by other website owners. Web hosting reviews are informative and insightful to customers.

These review sites rank hosting providers according to their reliability, bandwidth and storage features, package types, discount plans, customer support and ease of use. You have access to reviews that are honest and lets you know what to expect. Going through such reviews gives you confidence that you’re choosing a provider that meets your demands.

This is a common strategy to help you determine the service that values your time and will provide you with professional hosting.

2. Avoid Cheap Hosting Services

Cheap hosting services attract customers, but are they reliable? The quality of a service should not be judged by its cheap price. You want assurance that you’re depending on a web hosting company that does not cause you inconvenience. 

This is a major concern, especially if you own an ecommerce business website. The hosting service you select will have an effect on the overall success of your online business. A high-performing web host is a critical aspect for a business website.

By neglecting to choose a reputable host, you could face disastrous consequences. You might have to go through long periods of downtime or server outages. Furthermore, cheap services may deliver poor page performance, unprofessional customer service, poor SEO ranking, lack of website security and other drawbacks.

Web hosting is an important investment that requires you to choose a good provider. You can pay as little as $5 per month, but disappointed with the overall service you’re getting. For these reasons, you will need to learn all the facts before you sign up for the right service. 

3. Determine your Disk Space and Bandwidth Requirements

Disk space and bandwidth are important considerations to have a satisfactory website. Disk space is the amount of data stored on a server. The size of your website is dependent on the disk space you need. Generally, most website providers are now offering disk space amounts of up to 3 GB. 

Last but not least is to determine the bandwidth. This includes uploads, downloads, and other data transferred to and from your website. Determine the bandwidth you need based on the size of your web page, the number of web pages, and website traffic. 

For more information about choosing a web hosting, take a look at our page

This post originally appeared on Raichel to the Rescue

Angry frustrated office worker having problems with his laptop and connection, computer problems and troubleshooting concept

11 Most Common Problems with Technology Small Businesses Face

In this day and age of technology, no business can survive or grow without it. Staying up to date with the newest, most efficient tools for data protection, cybersecurity, and integrations is a must if you want a smooth sail.

These measures will keep your company data and sensitive files safe, save you from unethical hackers, and make sure employees can do their jobs without a hitch.

As a small business, you should expect problems with technology to occur once in a while. If they come up often and aren’t resolved properly, you may need to look into your systems, but also your employees.

Read on to discover the 11 most common tech issues that small businesses face and tips on how to resolve them.

1. Security

The chances of surviving a hacker attack are slim for a small business. In fact, 60% of small businesses will close their doors within 6 months of a cyber attack.

This is why it’s of utmost importance to protect your information through all kinds of security channels and layers of protection.

Make sure your IT department constantly updates the security measures and is skilled enough to recognize and deal with a cyber attack.

2. Data Protection

Data theft and data loss are two of the most devastating problems faced by small businesses. Confidential business information, payment information, employees’ personal data, and similar sensitive data must be kept safe and protected with strict measures.

Unfortunately, data breaches happen often, and no one is completely immune. To avoid leaks, use trusted tools and software that your employees know how to work with.

3. Backup and Recovery

Important data and files needed to run your business should be kept in a safe place and in multiple copies. If you fail to back up this information, you’re in trouble, and without a recovery plan, you risk losing it forever.

The best solution for data recovery is a cloud server but you can also host some information locally. In case of a data loss, this will help you get back on your feet and have everything up and running in no time.

4. Integration Issues

A common tech issue for small businesses is integration. To keep everything moving, your business uses dozens of tools and software solutions.

From marketing automation, payment processing, customer support, and data entry systems, every tool must be integrated seamlessly with other programs and software.

Old versions, new technologies, and duplicate data are among the main reasons for integration problems.

5. Employee Incompetence

Whether you have an entire IT department in-house or outsource tech matters to freelancers, it’s crucial to choose the right people. If your company keeps having problems with technology, you may be dealing with an incompetent or unprepared team.

Always ask for recommendations from friends and family before you hire someone, and observe the IT work closely to check for slackers. Employee training and education is a great idea if you can afford it. This may help prevent problems with technology in the future.

6. Using Outdated Systems

Outdated software, security systems, and processes are among the most common technology problems. However, small business owners have to wear many hats and often don’t have the time to keep track of everything.

Luckily, this is easily fixed by your IT department who will make sure every program is bug-free, updated to the newest version, and integrated well with the rest of the programs.

7. Malware, Ransomware, and Viruses

No matter how careful you are, it only takes one wrong click to infect your computer with a nasty virus, malware, and ransomware. You’ll lose a lot of money, time, and effort to repair the damage.

To prevent this, alongside security systems, you also need proper protection from these forms of cyber attacking. This could be software, anti-virus programs, code, and website plugins.

Always keep this system updated to the most recent version as outdated versions or faulty code are a loophole to threats.

8. Lack of Regular Maintenance

Many technical problems arise due to lack of regular maintenance of the systems and processes. If your website is down or the servers crash frequently, it’s time to change either your tech equipment or your employees.

Technology is changing rapidly and if your business doesn’t keep up, you risk being slowed down by software instead of growing with it.

9. Disconnect Between the IT Department and Business Owners

Miscommunication between employees and bosses is common in small businesses. It’s important to establish a clear line of communication so you are always in the know.

If technology is among the main factors to your success, be a leader and keep IT in the loop about your business goals. If they know where they’re headed, they’ll do a better job at keeping problems out of your way.

10. Previous Problems

Some technology problems in businesses can be a result of previously unresolved issues. This can be anything from a faulty machine to bad software, so have your IT team look into it.

If you changed IT employers, these problems can linger on until the entire system crashes. To avoid a disaster, whenever there’s a new employee, make sure they’re up to date with everything that’s going on technology-wise.

11. Lack of Time and Money

Though you can’t predict tech problems, you can make a plan on how to deal with them. Most issues are a result of the business’s inability to buy the best protection or hire the best people.

Owners don’t have the time to handle tech issues when they arise and neglect this section of the business until something major happens. By then, it might be too late to salvage lost data or prevent a cyber attack. This is why planning is crucial, especially if you’re just starting out.

Plan a portion of your funds for decent equipment, software, backup, and cyber protection. One day, it’ll save your life and business.

Avoid These Common Problems with Technology with These Useful Tips

Losing essential data, being a victim to a hacker attack, and integration complications are just some of the many roadblocks you may bump into as a business owner.

Problems with technology are inevitable, but with the right team of employees and the right systems, you can reduce the issues to a minimum.

Check out our blog for more tips to help you with your tech needs.

This post originally appeared on Raichel to the Rescue

Web design trends and techniques have changed dramatically over the years. It's almost foreign to think about "Web 2.0", shiny buttons, and gradients everywhere. It's even crazier thinking what the Web would look like if we kept with HTML tables! Standing out is tougher than ever as countless sites come online. What are designers and developers embracing this year? What trends in website design show promise from here into the foreseeable future? Let's take a look. The Industry-Shaping Web Design Trends of 2019 As the story goes, "Web design is dead" is an all-too-common theme these days. It makes some sense considering site templates and site generators. Yet, like art, there are those pushing the boundaries -- bringing the industry forward. The following trends may or may not stick. Regardless if they do or don't, you should take note. They'll provide immense design inspiration in your projects. 1. Broken/Asymmetrical Layouts Flashback to the mid-2010s and the grid layout reigned supreme. The grid system was ideal for page structure and user flow. Yet, many designers found this boring as it made a rigid standard for most designs. Today we have asymmetrical layouts. These layouts break the grid, twisting and turning design elements. In a way, the design mirrors print to which visuals disrupt the flow but adds an experience. You'll see minimalism play a role in asymmetrical layouts, too. 2. Brutalism Brutalism is best described as a raw, unfiltered experience. In Web design, brutalism mimicks websites of yesteryear with fewer gimmicks. And, a higher prominence in the message versus visual flair. The stripped-down design looks barren compared to typical sites. And yet: The no-frills design is effective in delivering the message (aggressively). It's like taking minimal design, adding concrete, and hammering your visitor. 3. Vintage Typography and Variable Fonts We're taught to use Times New Roman in school. The Web teaches us to use sans-serif fonts for better readability. Designers got bored and looked to classic, vintage typography for inspiration in this latest web design trend. Vintage fonts like: Paralines Motherline Vintage Parlour The almost-rustic look of them gives a classic look. You likely notice is most in trendy logos for bars and restaurants these days. On the flipside: Variable fonts are somewhat bland but are fantastic for usability. These fonts scale to design and screen sizes. 4. Vibrant Colors Flat, monotone design became a staple for the latter part of the 2010s. As one could expect, designers became bored and began introducing vibrant colors. Neons High saturation It's like we're seeing a resurgence of the 80s -- except in web design. 5. (More) Whitespace It seems like businesses and companies finally listened to their design. The call for whitespace has been in the lexicon for many years. This is the choice of giving the page ample "breathing" space by separating elements. Whitespace is ideal for directing attention to essential elements. Embrace the Designer's Creativity and Expertise You, someone wanting to build a site, may not follow web design trends as if it's their job. Designers do. Place your trust in their creativity and expertise if using them to build a site. Do so and yours will look sleek, modern, and amazing. Get started with web design, today, and see what ideas you can bring to life.

Keep up with the Times. 5 Web Design Trends to Embrace in 2019

Web design trends and techniques have changed dramatically over the years. It’s almost foreign to think about “Web 2.0”, shiny buttons, and gradients everywhere. It’s even crazier thinking what the Web would look like if we kept with HTML tables!

Standing out is tougher than ever as countless sites come online.

What are designers and developers embracing this year? What trends in website design show promise from here into the foreseeable future? Let’s take a look.

The Industry-Shaping Web Design Trends of 2019

As the story goes, “Web design is dead” is an all-too-common theme these days. It makes some sense considering site templates and site generators. Yet, like art, there are those pushing the boundaries — bringing the industry forward.

The following trends may or may not stick. Regardless if they do or don’t, you should take note. They’ll provide immense design inspiration in your projects.

1. Broken/Asymmetrical Layouts

Flashback to the mid-2010s and the grid layout reigned supreme. The grid system was ideal for page structure and user flow. Yet, many designers found this boring as it made a rigid standard for most designs.

Today we have asymmetrical layouts.

These layouts break the grid, twisting and turning design elements. In a way, the design mirrors print to which visuals disrupt the flow but adds an experience. You’ll see minimalism play a role in asymmetrical layouts, too.

2. Brutalism

Brutalism is best described as a raw, unfiltered experience. In Web design, brutalism mimicks websites of yesteryear with fewer gimmicks. And, a higher prominence in the message versus visual flair.

The stripped-down design looks barren compared to typical sites.

And yet:

The no-frills design is effective in delivering the message (aggressively). It’s like taking minimal design, adding concrete, and hammering your visitor.

3. Vintage Typography and Variable Fonts

We’re taught to use Times New Roman in school. The Web teaches us to use sans-serif fonts for better readability. Designers got bored and looked to classic, vintage typography for inspiration in this latest web design trend.

Vintage fonts like:

  • Paralines
  • Motherline Vintage
  • Parlour

The almost-rustic look of them gives a classic look. You likely notice is most in trendy logos for bars and restaurants these days.

On the flipside:

Variable fonts are somewhat bland but are fantastic for usability. These fonts scale to design and screen sizes.

4. Vibrant Colors

Flat, monotone design became a staple for the latter part of the 2010s. As one could expect, designers became bored and began introducing vibrant colors.

  • Neons
  • High saturation

It’s like we’re seeing a resurgence of the 80s — except in web design.

5. (More) Whitespace

It seems like businesses and companies finally listened to their design. The call for whitespace has been in the lexicon for many years. This is the choice of giving the page ample “breathing” space by separating elements.

Whitespace is ideal for directing attention to essential elements.

Embrace the Designer’s Creativity and Expertise

You, someone wanting to build a site, may not follow web design trends as if it’s their job. Designers do.

Place your trust in their creativity and expertise if using them to build a site. Do so and yours will look sleek, modern, and amazing. Get started with web design, today, and see what ideas you can bring to life.

This post originally appeared on Raichel to the Rescue

Businessman in blue touching the domain ending com on a hexagon grid in front of office background

5 Clever Tips for Choosing a Standout Business Domain Name

For about 10 bucks you can buy your business domain name.

But:

You should do some research before you hit the checkout. Picking a domain is easy, picking a great one is a challenge. You don’t want to be years into it and have remorse.

The following shares five considerations when picking a standout domain for your business.

Start with the Obvious: Your Brand Name

Do you have a business that’s not yet online? Perhaps the brand name is available! This is a great entry into choosing a domain name since it’s your business name.

How do you benefit?

  • Business to website association
  • Claiming your space offline and online

There’s a chance someone may be cybersquatting your name. Given you’ve registered the business name and can prove it — you may be able to get it back. Work with ICANN to claim your trademark dispute in this scenario.

Consider Localization for Local Relevance

Does your business operate in several locations? Is it a franchise? You may want to consider including localized terms for the domain name.

For example:

  • Your Business + City
  • Your Services + in + State

Picking a domain name using local terms benefits from local searches. Google tailors local search results if users share their location. This helps your site appear in those search results because it’s close and relevant.

As a bonus:

You’ll prevent business overlap and competition by using localized domains. You could also use the .local domain extension to further tailor the local experience.

Use Keywords for a (Potential) SEO Boost

There’s a debate about whether Google is okay with keywords in domains. But, do your own search and you’ll see plenty of keyword-rich domains in the SERPs.

The point: Keywords in domains are good for relevancy and SEO.

You can’t solely rely on keywords in the domain for higher rankings. That’s where search engine optimization strategies come into play. But, it can’t hurt adding them if what you’re offering is that keyword or phrase.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Google’s Keyword Planner tool
  2. Type in words about your business and industry
  3. Browse the keyword suggestions
  4. Note the search volume and competition
  5. Check for a domain using those keywords

Most domain registrars spit out variations of a domain name. Or, suggest alternative domain extensions. Find and pick one that’s relevant and you’ll have a business domain that gets an SEO edge.

Make It Memorable and Easy-To-Type

What’s easier to remember and type:

  • Option 1: Mytotallycoolwebsiteabouthorses.com
  • Option 2: Horsey.com

…exactly.

You’ll want a domain that’s memorable because you’ll use it everywhere. This includes presentations, business cards, flyers, and more. A simple test is pitching the name to a friend and seeing if they recall it a few days later.

Likewise:

Don’t get too cute with how you spell the domain name. Adding extra characters and industry jargon could cause confusion with interested parties. Worse, they could mistype and end up on a dead site — which they think is yours.

Try Sticking to the Dot Com

There are tons of domain name extensions. You’ve got country-specific to generic top-level domains. Yet, the .com extension is king.

Why choose .com:

  • Memorable
  • Authoritative

Of course .net, .org, and .biz are decent fallbacks. But, do remember that using a non-.com name means someone else is competing in that space. And, your leads may end up on that site versus yours.

Don’t Wait Getting Your Business Domain Name

There are businesses launched each day. Most are clamoring for a business domain name meaning you could miss out! Grab yours ASAP before the competition nudges their way into your space.

What’s next after choosing the domain? Get set up with web hosting, of course!

This post originally appeared on Raichel to the Rescue