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Hackers – 5 ways they attack you (and how to counter them)

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Hackers  - Guy Fox

Hackers

Right now, millions of hackers, spammers and scammers are hard at work. They’re after yourSocial Security number, bank account information and social media accounts. With any of these, they can steal your money or trick your friends into giving up theirs.

The scary part is that anyone can be a hacker. For as little as $3,000, you can buy a complete and fully operational exploit kit. This kit does most of the illegal work for you automatically. You get to sit back and rake in the cash, until you get caught.

Between semi-amateurs with automated systems and serious hackers who are masters of technology and trickery, how can you possibly hope to stay safe?

The best way is to know how hackers do what they do. Once you know that, you can counter their malicious acts. Here are five popular hacker strategies.

1. Phishing scams

Lucky you! A Nigerian prince has selected you to help smuggle millions out of his country. For a little bit of effort — a few simple wire transfers — you’ll get a substantial cut. What could be easier?

I bet you’re asking yourself, “Who would fall for that?” Well, tens of thousands of people do every year. That’s why Nigerian scams, known as 419 scams, are still very popular.

Other versions might say you won a contest or have a job offer. Maybe someone wants to meet you, or you can make money for shipping some goods.

The catch is that you have to send in personal or banking information, or pay a fee. Of course, your information and money is going straight to hackers.

Use common sense before reacting to any e-mail. Scams rely on making you act quickly. If you think about things long enough, you can usually see through them. Just remember the old saying, “If it looks too good to be true … ”

2. Trojan horse

Many hackers want to slip a virus on your computer. Once installed, a virus can record everything you type and send it back to the hacker. It can send out spam e-mail or attack other computers.

To do this, the hackers disguise the virus as something harmless. This is called a Trojan horse, or just Trojan.

One of the most popular ways to deliver a Trojan is a variation of the phishing e-mail scams.

For example, the e-mail might say it’s from a shipping service, bank or other reputable company. There’s been a problem with a transaction! To learn more, you have to open an e-mail attachment.

The attachment might look like a normal file, but it really contains a Trojan. Clicking on the file installs it before you can do anything.

Similar scams appear on Facebook and Twitter. You think you’re going to watch a funny video your friend posted. Instead, a popup tells you to update your video player. The “update” file it provides is really a Trojan.

The key to defeat this tactic, as with phishing e-mails, is common sense. However, up-to-date security software is essential as well. It should detect and stop most Trojans before they can install.

3. Drive-by downloads

Security software is good, but it isn’t always enough. Programs on your computer might have weaknesses that hackers can use to bypass security software.

To take advantage of these weaknesses, hackers set up websites embedded with viruses. You might get there by clicking a malicious link in a phishing e-mail or on social media. You can even find these sites in a search for popular programs or topics.

It isn’t just malicious sites, though. Hackers can sneak malicious code on to legitimate websites. The code scans your computers for security holes. If it finds one, a virus can download and install without you doing anything.

To stay safe, you have to keep your programs up-to-date. Every month, Microsoft releases updates for Windows and Internet Explorer. These updates close critical security holes that hackers exploit.

Other critical programs to patch are Adobe’s Flash and Reader, and Oracle’s Java. Using old versions of these programs is like sending hackers an engraved invitation.

You should also be using the latest version of your programs. Anyone using Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 needs to update or switch browsers immediately.

4. Bypassing passwords

In Hollywood movies, hackers are masters of guessing account passwords. In the real world, however, very few hackers bother.

Instead, they go around passwords. They might get your password from a data breach at a company or website you use.

It’s important that you use a different password for every account. That way, if a hacker discovers one, they can’t get in to every account.

Perhaps the hacker slipped a virus on to your system. It records your passwords and sends them to the hacker; no guessing needed.

As I mentioned above, you can stop viruses with up-to-date security software and programs.

A hacker might tackle your account’s security question. Most security questions can be answered with information people post publicly.

You should change how you answer security questions. Give a random answer that has nothing to do with the question. That way, no one can guess it.

5. Using open Wi-Fi

I’m sure you have a Wi-Fi network at home. Is it encrypted? If you don’t know the answer, then it’s probably, “no.”

That means hackers, and neighbors, can connect to your network from outside. They can see and record everything you do. They can surf to bad websites and download illegal files on your connection. You might be getting a visit from the police.

You need to take a few minutes and secure your network. Trust me; it’s worth it. The instructions will be in your Wi-Fi router’s manual.

Article Provided By: USA TODAY

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14 Hot Web Design Trends From 2015

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

The loudest content medium out there has finally learned how to be quiet. In 2015, web design moved away from information overload to an aesthetic revolving around empty space and simplicity. Taking a cue from magazines, web pages are using large high-definition photographs and typography to lure in readers with eye-pleasing openers before revealing further content.

This design is influenced by a new appeal to simplicity and by the need to cater to mobile web traffic, which is increasing every year. In the face of this push to cut away excess, here are 14 design trends that have reared their heads so far in 2015.

1. Minimalism

From simplifying logos and typefaces (here’s looking at you, Google) to cleaning up entire web pages, minimalism is the trend influencing all others. Websites are focusing more on their actual content and reducing all of the clutter around it. Footers, sidebars and borders are all disappearing, and even color palettes are being simplified as companies emphasize one dominant color in their visual design. StubHub’s logo change is a perfect example of this trend.

Web Design

Image credit: stubhub

2. App-like menus

Designing with the mobile market in mind changes more than just aesthetics. It has impacted the way web illustrators think about organizing their content and how they let readers access it. Sticky menus and sidebars are falling out of favor to make room for content that readers actually want to see. These days, menus are at the top of the screen and are mostly hidden, noted by a single icon (often a stack of three lines called a “hamburger”) that when selected drops down or slides out into a more robust menu. Social media analytics company Unmetric has a beautifully simple example of this style of menu.

Web Design

Image credit: Unmetric

3. Ghost buttons

Web sites are moving away from loud, flashy buttons, and are embracing transparent buttons. Because they are less obtrusive, ghost buttons help sites highlight more of the content they want audiences to actually see instead of call-to-actions they would otherwise force users to click. Ghost buttons include only the outline of a button (no fill) along with a word or two in simple typography in the center. BigDrop, a web design firm, features a prominent ghost button on their landing page.

Web Design

Image credit: BigDrop

4. The reign of the hero Image

Already trending in 2014, the hero image hasn’t gone anywhere this year, but it has evolved. Last year, sites all over the web included the standard hero image: a high-definition (HD) picture featured prominently at the top of a website that stretched the entire width of a user’s browser window with only a few words of text overlaying it.

Web Design

Image credit: spotify

This year the hero image has changed in a few remarkable ways. Some sites have taken the HD photo one step further and embedded HD video onto their landing page. Others pursued the opposite route: blurring the banner photo or removing it altogether in favor of a simple colored background to draw attention to the text. Spotify’s site shows a blend of these trends, offering an image on one half of the page but leaving plenty of white space for its heading and a pastel and ghost button to boot.

5. Interesting typography

When the hero image became popular, designers began paying more attention to typography. Picking an engaging font is crucial to drawing a visitor’s attention when so much of the site’s content is simplified and reduced as an effect of minimalism. Ad agencyRSQ uses custom typography on its website and features a powerful statement without any other distractions to spotlight its message to audiences.

Web Design

Image credit: RSQ

 

6. Stock photos that don’t look like stock photos

The days of the generic stock photo are over (thank the photography gods); jaw-dropping visuals are in. With communities like 500px and Unsplash, finding high quality do-whatever-you-want-with-it photography is easier than ever. As a result, websites no longer look like the result of an uncoordinated stock photo shopping spree. Now, they actually feel genuine.

Web Design

Image credit:500px

 

7. Single page design

Nobody wants to click through multiple pages anymore. Instead, users prefer to scroll through content on one long page. This trend too has its roots in mobile web surfing because it is far easier to scroll down with your thumb than it is to click through multiple pages and wait for each to load. This year has reinforced that concept, and while few websites are only a single page, most are reducing the number of pages they have and lengthening the content on each to be more mobile-friendly. Smartwater’s website uses scrolling to great effect by making the visitor scroll up rather than down to illustrate that their water is distilled from vapor.

Web Design

Image credit: Smartwater

8. Parallax scrolling

A way to make websites more engaging, parallax scrolling creates a three-dimensional illusion that draws audiences into a site’s content. Many brands now use parallax scrolling to create a more immersive effect for visitors. Dangers of Fracking uses this brilliantly as you follow a drop of rain from the clouds to the depths of the earth.

Web Design

Image credit: Dangers of Fracking

9. Modular design

Call it a grid, tiles or cards, each of these designs creates the same effect: organizing content in an efficient, aesthetically pleasing way. A single column of content is inefficient and less user-friendly by comparison. Modular design allows a page to show more content to users faster, in a way that makes more intuitive sense and creates a more visually engaging layout at the same time. On its homepage, The Next Web offers a textbook-perfect example of good modular design.

Image credit: The Next Web

 

10. The evolution of flat design

Flat design made a huge impact on graphics last year, so much so that Google released its own version of flat design called material design. Material design employs the same aesthetic as flat design, focusing on simplicity and clean presentation, but Google’s design has more subtlety. Whereas flat design includes simple illustrations to create recognizable but minimalist two-dimensional content, material design uses gradients, slight animation and shadowing to add depth to the image. With most web designers in a minimalist mindset, material design won’t be going anywhere soon. Below is Material Design Blog’s landing page, which is a great example of how material design works for logos.

 

Image credit: Material Design Blog

11. Line icons

Image credit: OtherIconsb

Alongside material design, line icons is the other movement finalizing the decline of skeuomorphism. Rather than an icon looking exactly like the object it represents (a design style that Apple popularized with its iOS icons), icons are created with simple lines and shapes that convey an action, object or thought we are all very familiar with. Many line icons have become universal in web design, such as the outline of a magnifying glass signaling the search function or the hamburger (three stacked lines) for a menu. Below are examples of line icons from OtherIcons.

12. Google Maps integration

Google Maps is everyone’s go-to map service, and it is only getting better. With customizable options, more brands are integrating the service into their websites — a move that is long overdue. Companies can add Maps to their site and customize its colors to complement their preferred color scheme. For example, Airbnb uses Google Maps and customized markers to help users figure out where available rooms are and how much they cost so they can plan a getaway that fits their budget and style.

Image credit: Airbnb

 

13. Scalable vector graphics (SVG)

When Apple released Retina display, designers were up in arms. Upset that their graphics and images suddenly looked pixelated with Retina’s higher resolution, designers were forced to adopt new methods that would allow their illustrations to look good on and be compatible with any device. Fortunately, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) rose to the challenge. SVG presents graphics as vectors, which allows them to scale with different resolutions. With SVG, images maintain their clarity and sharpness on all devices. Snap.svg, a Javascript SVG library, has many examples available, such as this one below.

Web Design

Image credit: Snap.svg

 

14. Vertical split layouts

Split screen layouts are popping up all over the web this year. With a vertical split layout, designers are able to present twice the content to users in a clean and simple format. Websites are divided in half widthwise, featuring two separate messages. The split screen is a great way to show equality between two things because standard web layouts dictate the most important things come first. Car maker Peugeot uses a vertical split layout on its homepage to blend the human element of the car with the car itself, suggestive of the relationship between driver and vehicle.

Web Design

Image credit: Peugeot

Now that 2015 is coming to a close, which new trends will designers adopt in 2016?
Article Provided By: Entrepreneur
If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss your websites analytics, custom logo designs, website, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

Color Theory for Websites and Design

Monday, July 27th, 2015

 

Put simply, Color Theory is the interaction of colors in a design through complementation, contrast and vibrancy.

The first part of the answer is easy to understand. But if you don’t have a degree in design it may be hard for you to understand or put to use the last 3 terms which define basic color theory. (complementation, contrast and vibrancy)

Complementation refers to the way we see colors in terms of their relationships with other colors. When colors occupy opposite ends of the color spectrum, they lead people to consider a design visually appealing by establishing a happy medium the eye can reside in. Rather than straining to accommodate for a particular area of the color spectrum, the eye is provided a balance. There are two common uses of complementation: the Triadic and Compound color scheme that we will be discussing later. Complementation can take you to new heights of design sophistication when you can begin to master the intricacies of color combinations.

Contrast reduces eyestrain and focuses user attention by clearly dividing elements on a page. The most apparent example of contrast is an effective selection of background and text color, as shown below:

Color Theory for Web Designers
Color Theory for Web Designers
Color Theory for Web Designers
Color Theory for Web Designers

If you’re ever in doubt, the best practice is usually to choose a very light color for the background, and a very dark color for the text itself. This is one area where color theory is crucial to the usability of a web design; In most projects, large text areas aren’t a place to try to be really creative – so keep it simple and legible.

Along with establishing readable text, contrast can also draw the viewer’s attention towards specific elements of a page. Think about highlighting a textbook: when you want to draw your attention to a specific portion of the page, you make the surrounding area look different than the rest of the text. The same principle applies to Web Design: Using a variety of contrasting colors can help focus the viewer’s attention on specific page elements.

If your website has a dark background, focus on the main content with a lighter color.

Color Theory for Web Designers
Color Theory for Web Designers

This principle also applies to Analogous colors (which we will discuss later):

Color Theory for Web Designers

Not to sound silly, but vibrancy dictates the emotion of your design. Brighter colors lead the user to feel more energetic as a result of your design, which is particularly effective when you are trying to advertise a product or invoke an emotional response. Darker shades relax the user, allowing their mind to focus on other things. A great example of this is a comparison between CNN and Ars Technica:

Color Theory for Web Designers
CNN’s website features a stark red banner across the top, which leads to heightened emotions from users as they are stimulated by the vibrancy of the design (and the contrast between red, white, and black- the primary color scheme of the website).102.

-

Color Theory for Web Designers
Ars Technica utilizes a darker color scheme for its background and header to relax the user and focus their attention towards their content. By doing so, their technical and detailed writing is considered the forefront of the site. And more importantly, the user is allowed to transfer the mental energy traditionally reserved for responding to vibrant colors to understanding the article’s contents.

Article Provided By: tuts+

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google-logo

 

 

 

 

Writing Great Blog Content

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Writing Great content 144resWrite Your Headline First

 

If your writing the story of a lifetime or just letting everyone know about the new computers that will be coming out in the near future, you have to start somewhere. Do you want to write great blog content? Of course you do! Doesn’t everyone? But where to start?

Well, I suggest you start with the headline first. You will need to have a basic idea for the subject of your article, blog post or so on. But once you have that basic idea, create your headline. Make it so it will grab the attention of your readers,  before you start writing the content of the article.

Why start with the headline you ask?

Your headline tells your readers what to expect in the article you have written. It’s like a promise to readers. For example, have you ever read a headline of an article only to find the story had little or nothing to do with the headline? Did you feel like you had wasted your valuable time? You don’t want to be the person or organization that upsets its readers because after a couple of times of that they will stop reading your post articles altogether. The headline of your article should clearly communicate the benefit you’ll deliver to the reader in exchange for their time spent.

Remember promises tend to be made before they are ever fulfilled. If you write your blog content first, it puts you in a place were you have to reverse-engineer your promise. When you write your headline first you have the benefit of expressly fulfilling the compelling promise you made in your the headline. This almost always helps to keep your blog content sharp and well-structured.

Also, remember that fulfilling a promise you haven’t made yet is challenging, and sometimes gives way to mediocre headlines. And poorly written headlines will kill your article even when the body of the article is somewhat amazing.

Article by Lance Roberts

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Entrepreneurs Need Web Developers Like Planes Need Wings. So, Where Are They? (Infographic)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Web Developers !

In this day and age, web developers are the wings for many entrepreneurs’ planes. Finding a good one who will stick around can be critical for success.

So where are these mystical, magical web developers? San Francisco-based software company Lucidworks analyzed the U.S. government’s employment data and generated the infographic below, which offers a snapshot of where developers work and how much they make, on average.

Silicon Valley’s home state has more than twice the number of web developers (230,000 plus) than the second-most saturated state, Texas (almost 110,000). By contrast, Wyoming has fewer than 600 developers total.

If you are thinking about starting a company that will need developers, or if you are looking to expand your existing development team, have a look at the infographic below to figure out what you will have to offer to be competitive.

Entrepreneurs Need Web Developers Like Planes Need Wings. So, Where Are They? (Infographic)

 

Article Provide by: Entrepreneur

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Social Questions

 

 

 

 

Law Enforcement Finding Few Allies On Encryption

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Security Encryption

Encryption For Mobile Devices

Cloud providers, mobile device manufacturers, private citizens, and a bipartisan Congressional committee are lining up on the opposite side.

At the RSA Conference in April, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asked the assembled audience of information security professionals for their “indulgence on the subject of encryption.” Law enforcement is thus far not receiving that indulgence from the security community, cloud services providers, nor some of the most security-savvy members of Congress.

Historically, law enforcement has been able to go straight to cloud service providers with requests for data residing on its servers, without needing, necessarily, to inform the cloud customer whose data is being requested — or any other customers whose data might also be residing on the same server. This puts cloud providers in an uncomfortable position — a position they’ve begun trying to get themselves out of.

Cloud service providers are now giving data owners the power to create and manage their own encryption keys. Thales e-Security and Microsoft pioneered “Bring Your Own Key” (BYOK) and expanded it in March to Microsoft Azure, so that anything created in the Azure environment can use BYOK as well. Box is also giving its cloud storage customers power over their keys, starting with Amazon.

What this means, is that when the courts or intelligence agencies want encrypted data residing on a public cloud, they’ll need to subpoena the data owner directly if they want to read it. The cloud provider cannot serve as the go-between.

Richard Moulds, VP of product strategy at Thales e-Security says this suits the cloud providers just fine because encryption keys are just a liability, anyway — best-case scenario, you don’t lose them. Decreasing their own responsibilities and satisfying the users’ privacy concerns at the same time is a winning proposition for both parties.

It does not, however, suit the interests of law enforcement, which is actively lobbying for ways around it.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Information Technology held a hearing on the topic of encryption. Officials from the Department of Justice and the FBI requested Congressional intervention, citing concerns that encryption is making it impossible for law enforcement to get access to essential data, even with appropriately obtained court orders, and that this was going to drastically impede criminal investigations.

Dan Conley, district attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts gave testimony taking specific aim at Apple and Google for marketing inaccessibility to law enforcement as a major selling point for their newest mobile devices.

“I am here today to ask Congress to help us find a solution, because what Apple and Google are doing is dangerous and should not be allowed to continue,” said Conley.

Conley’s remarks were met with strong criticism by the Congressmen.

Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA), who holds a degree in computer science, said he took “great offense” to Conley’s testimony and that the actions of Apple and Google are “a private sector response to government overreach.”

“To me it’s very simple to draw a privacy balance when it comes to law enforcement and privacy: just follow the damn Constitution,” said Lieu. “And because the NSA didn’t do that, and other law enforcement agencies didn’t do that, you’re seeing a vast public reaction to this. Because the NSA, your colleagues, have essentially violated the 4th amendment rights of every American citizen for years by seizing all our phone records, by collecting our internet traffic, that now is spilling over into other aspects of law enforcement. And if you want to get this fixed, I suggest you write to NSA and the FBI should tell NSA ‘stop violating our rights’ and then maybe you’d have the public much more on the side of supporting some of what law enforcement is asking for.”

The technological solutions that have been floated thusfar — like some sort of cryptographic backdoor that law enforcement would only activate when it properly obtained a warrant — have been met with criticism.

“As a recovering computer scientist, it is clear to me that creating a pathway for decryption only for good guys is technologically stupid,” said Lieu. “You just can’t do that.”

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), who is a former CIA agent and former senior advisor for information risk management firm FusionX, asked Dr. Matthew Blaze, who also testified at the hearing, for his opinions about a split-key approach to encryption. Blaze is a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania who’s been focusing on cryptography, surveillance, and the legal aspects of it since the days of the Clipper Chip:

Blaze: There are things we can do, like splitting the key between multiple locations, that can reduce some aspects of some of the risks in a system like this.

Hurd: But it does create additional vulnerabilities that anyone who has technical capabilities would be able to take advantage of.

Blaze: That’s right. We can move some of the risks around from one part of the system or another, but there is still fundamental problems.

Hurd also questioned Conley’s assertions that Google and Apple have made it impossible for law enforcement could obtain data they need with properly issued warrants. Conley said “we could get the device, but we couldn’t get the information off the device if it’s running iOS 8,” which would be secured with a passcode.

Hurd did not buy the argument. He asked Blaze how long it would take to crack a 4-digit PIN, using modern methods. Blaze responded “on modern computing hardware, essentially no time at all.”

Hurd: That’s the equivalent of taking a safe out of a home and using some safecracking skills — this would be the digital equivalent?

Blaze: No this would be much easier.”

Hurd: [laughs]

Something more complicated than a 4-digit PIN, of course, would be another matter.

Another solution that’s been discussed: holding copies of encryption keys in escrow for government use. Yet, Moulds from Thales points out that confidentiality is not the only thing encryption is used for. Encryption is also used for digital signatures; and holding a key used for that purpose in escrow would entirely defeat the purpose of the digital signature. If more than one copy of a seal exists, then how can you be sure it wasn’t forged?

“If I take a back-up of it,” says Moulds, “I can never say that [the signature] was really her, because she can always say it was someone else.”

The “solutions” that have been proposed may not be solve any more problems than they create, but there’s no denying that encryption has a dark side, as anyone who’s contended with ransomware knows.

Speaking at RSA, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin was asked for his thoughts on the matter. He had an optimistic viewpoint, saying that other complex issues have been handled before by the government and the security community working together to develop norms, and this would just be one more example of that.

“Is there a solution?” said Carlin. “I would think the best minds could come up with one.”

Article Provided By Information Week

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How to Use Landing Pages to Turn Attention into Business

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Landing Pages - Social LogosDo you ever envy those folks with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, massive numbers of Facebook “Likes,” or floods of blog traffic you can only dream about?

Well, don’t envy them until you’re absolutely sure they actually have a successful business, not just a hefty Klout score.

Unfortunately, building a massive online presence doesn’t magically translate into business. But the happy flip side is — you don’t need to have a zillion social media fans in order to have a successful business, either.

Today we’re going to talk about how to translate attention (which is fleeting on the web, as we know) into paying customers.

Let’s get it started.

First, let’s look at what a landing page is and what it does for your business.

Landing pages turn attention into action

A landing page is a web page designed to focus the attention of your audience member, get her thinking about the right things, and convincing her to take action.

Some actions might be:

  • To make a purchase
  • To sign up for your email list
  • To register to vote
  • To sign up for a volunteer activity
  • To sign a petition
  • To make a donation

It doesn’t really matter what action you want that audience member to take. The landing page is the right tool to get it done.

That means you minimize distractions, pull out all your copywriting skills, and do everything you can to persuade this person to take the action you desire.

Attention on the web is scattered

We’ve all been there — we’re going to seriously focus on something we find on the web … and when we look up 45 minutes later, somehow we’ve just spent all that time reading chocolate cake recipes on Pinterest.

The web is a highly distracting place, and that’s not good for your audience when it comes time for them to focus on what you have to offer.

That’s why landing pages are primarily an attention focusing device. They take a sort-of-paying-attention prospect and dial up her attention level.

That’s why, incidentally, landing pages typically don’t have sidebars, navigation, or links to anything other than the desired action. Once you have your prospect’s attention focused, the last thing you want to do is send him ping-ponging around the web again.

Landing pages use your best persuasion skills

Anything and everything you know about copywriting will go into your landing pages. As you pick up more skill, your landing pages will only get better.

Some important elements of your landing page include:

  • A compelling headline to draw readers in
  • A thorough discussion of benefits (what your product does for your customer) and features
  • Enticing fascinations that build curiosity and desire for what you’re selling (even if it’s free, like your email autoresponder)
  • A clear call to action that lets people know exactly what to do next
  • Some great testimonials, if you have them, to show your expertise and credibility

Article Provided By CopyBlogger

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Do Your Customers Want What You Have to Offer

 

 

 

 

Marketing Core: Getting Started with Content Promotion

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Marketing Core: Getting Started with Content Promotion

Content Promotion

What’s the first task of every marketer? To grab the Attention of our potential customer. Until we have that, we don’t get an opportunity to deliver our marketing message.

So before we get down to it, first things first. We can’t talk about content promotion without pointing out an important fact.

None of this will work for boring content.

There is no shortcut or workaround. Your content has to be remarkable, period, in order to get the sharing and links that will make you successful.

It’s not a matter of being able to write something that could be published in The New Yorker. But you do need to be able to create content worth talking about. Otherwise — well, no one will talk about you.

We’ve talked before about what makes for remarkable content. For most scenarios, look to create a combination of:

  1. A strong, unique, and memorable voice
  2. Content that’s remarkably useful
  3. Content that’s interesting and reader-friendly

Within that so-called formula is room for infinite variation. Make it your own, butmake it remarkable.

Important: You personally may not be the best person to create remarkable content for your site. If not, start beating the bushes for a contract writer. You might even consider entering into a formal business partnership with someone who does have a strong writing voice (and typically an audience to go with it). It’s that important.

Cultivate your network

Once you have something worth talking about, you need to go find some people to talk about it.

The first question to ask is,

Who else has the traffic you want?

Somewhere out there are people who have the attention of the audience you’re looking for. Your task is to figure out what you can create that will put you on their radar.

Sometimes, this is another blogger or content publisher in your topic. But sometimes it can also be a publisher in a related topic. For example, guest blogging expert Jon Morrow talks about an extremely successful guest post he wrote for Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog. He was promoting his own blog, On Moneymaking (which he has since sold). Her blog covered a different topic, but she had the readers he wanted.

The post reached the desired audience and delivered a terrific result — the traffic and subscribers Jon was looking for.

Understand why people share content

It’s very important to realize that influential people share content because it increases their influence with their audience.

That dovetails nicely with our description of remarkable content above. Content that has a distinctive voice, that’s useful, and that’s reader-friendly will also make influential people look smart with their audiences when they share it. Everybody wins.

You’ll also want to be sure to put a solid headline on every piece of content that you want to get shared and linked to. (Which typically means, virtually every piece of content you publish.) The right headline can make all the difference between content that soars and content that fizzles.

Nice guys finish first

You know that successful person who’s awful to everyone? Who makes a name for himself being rude, disrespectful, snarky, and just plain mean?

Yeah, he’s not actually successful. He probably gets a lot of social media attention— and he’s also probably broke.

It should go without saying, but when you’re building your network of content publishers, be a nice person! Be polite, be (genuinely) interested in what your network is doing, be friendly.

Your professional network can make or break you as a content marketer. And social media is already too full of name-calling jerks. Be a good egg. It will serve you well.

How about SEO?

Search engine optimization is a key strategy in content promotion. Fortunately, all of the same techniques you use to get social shares and links will also benefit you with search engines. Be remarkable, develop a solid network of influential content publishers, create lots of useful content, use powerful headlines, and you’ll find that 90% of your SEO work is done.

(The remaining 10% can be taken care of with Scribe — Here’s a link for a nice deal if you aren’t already a Scribe owner.)

Article Provided by: Copyblogger

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss developing your logo, web site, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

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Facebook Starts Hosting Publishers’ “Instant Articles”

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

 

Instant Articles

After months of rumors, Facebook today unveiled“Instant Articles”, a program that natively hosts publishers’ content in its app’s News Feed so users don’t have to click out and wait for websites to load. Instant Articles debuts today with rich-media stories from The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and six other outlets that will be globally visible from Facebook’s iPhone app.

Assuaging publishers’ fears that Facebook would keep all the data, the social network will share analytics, and Instant Articles is compatible with audience measurement and attribution tools like comScore, Omniture, and Google Analytics. Ads can appear inside Instant Articles, with publishers keeping 100% of revenue if they sell them, and Facebook keeps its standard 30% if it sells the ads, as the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Instant Articles won’t receive preferential treatment from Facebook’s News Feed sorting algorithm just because of their format. But if users click, like, comment, and share Instant Articles more often than others, they may show up higher and more frequently in feed like any piece of popular content. That could incentivize, or implicitly force, more publishers to adopt the new hosted format.

Instant Articles - 3-Map (new)

Beyond just loading faster, Facebook will parse HTML and RSS to display articles with fonts, layouts, and formats that make Instant Articles feel like a publisher’s website. But Facebook is also providing vivid media options like embedding zoomable photos, videos, and maps with audio captions, plus contextual ‘Ambient Videos’. Justin Osofsky, the company’s VP Of Global Operations and Media Partnerships, says publishers “can have the same tools that an app developer has. They’re not stuck with what the mobile web can offer.”

If the Instant Articles test is well received, Facebook hopes to add more publishers in the coming weeks with the goal of making it available to any outlet that shares stories on Facebook.

tl;dr – Facebook is trying to plug the holes where users leak out. Slow mobile web article load times lead people to leave its app. Speeding up the reading experience by subsuming it could make sure people stay on Facebook connecting with friends, discovering content, and seeing ads. But the program further indebts publishers to Facebook, and they have to play by its rules.

Designed On Paper

Many think Facebook’s dedicated news reader Paper was a failure because it wasn’t a hit with tens of millions of users. But like Camera, Slingshot, and Facebook’s other standalone apps, it was designed to provide Facebook with insights about user behavior that it could bring back to its main app. This is how Facebook figured out photo filters and stickers, and now Paper has taught it about the stylized reading experience publishers want to provide.

Instant Articles borrows from the branded article covers pioneered in Facebook Paper

Now, Paper will still be supported, but its team’s leaders including project manager Michael Reckhow and designer Mike Matas are behind Instant Articles. “We’ve brought a bunch of the learnings [from Paper] into this product” Reckhow tells me at Facebook headquarters. That includes stylized cover images and fonts that evoke the publisher’s brand.

The project started with the theses that “speed is often then most important feature of what we build on a mobile phone” Reckhow tells me. The company saw a massive increase in usage and improvement of reviews when it doubled the speed of its iOS app in 2012.

“We have gone through and optimized and sped up all the core experiences of using Facebook: loading News Feed, loading photos, loading videos” Reckhow explains. “The last thing that takes a long time to load in your News Feed is articles.” Matas relays “We’ve all had the frustration of just looking at a blank screen and waiting for something to load”, and notes “On average it takes over eight seconds to load.” That’s an eternity on mobile that causes people to close the app in frustration.

Instant Articles load 10x faster than the mobile web

So nine months ago, Facebook devised the plan for Instant Articles. As soon as an Instant Article is algorithmically picked to show up in the News Feed, a rich cover image and the article itself is pre-loaded into Facebook’s native app.

When you tap one, instead of having to wait for an internal browser window opening the website to load, the screen slides over immediately revealing the hosted content. Matas says they load “about 10x faster than the mobile web”, and in my demo on Wi-Fi, it took just a quarter-second or so. Not enough time to get bored and leave Facebook.

Built To Appease Publishers

In August, the Instant Articles team began meeting with top publishers. It knew they’d be edgy about shifting the reading experience off their website and to Facebook. Osofky tells me “We thought it was important to get feedback from publishers directly, and then build to meet their needs.”

After hearing their pitch, BuzzFeed’s VP Of Product Chris Johanesen told the Instant Articles team “Great meeting, you but here are the seven things that we would need to be able to do this program”, a BuzzFeed spokesperson tells me. Those requests were:

  1. Compatibility with comScore traffic measurement
  2. Compatibility Google Analytics to understand the audience
  3. To make sure Google Analytics worked across all its content
  4. Compatibility with BuzzFeed’s internal analytics tools
  5. Control of design to make Instant Articles look and feel like BuzzFeed articles
  6. Ability to work with BuzzFeed on special formats like quizzes
  7. Monetization

When Facebook returned in January, BuzzFeed’s spokesperson tells me “I gotta say, it was pretty impressive. ‘Those things you asked for? We’re going to do all of them.’”

As it launches today, Instant Articles will work with comScore to properly attribute traffic to publishers, though others like Quantcast or Compete may not be totally accurate yet. Google Analytics, Omniture, and some publishers’ tracking tools will work just like on a publisher’s websites, recording standard data on who’s looking at what articles and the media inside them.

Facebook plans to expand the analytics for publishers tools it released in December, which can tell outlets how far users scrolled. Still, Osofsky notes “We’ll always respect the privacy of people and personally identifiable information will never be shared.”

Instant Articles - 2-Photo (new)

From the moment users see an Instant Article’s story blurb in the News Feed, it will look distinctly theirs. The New York Times and BuzzFeed’s iconic fonts will shine through, as will National Geographic’s yellow border. Instant Articles support all kinds of embeds like tweets and YouTube videos, as well as web views to allow even more rich content flexibility like interactive infographics.

Facebook’s main goal is improving the News Feed experience so people stay longer and see the highly-lucrative ads it already shows, not to steal ad impressions from publishers. So publishers will retain control of what ads they choose to show inside the Instant Articles. If they sell them, they’ll keep 100% of the revenue. If Facebook sells the ads through its Audience Network mobile ad network, it will keep 30% and give 70% to the publisher.

And publishers aren’t bound to use the product. Partners can publish as many or as few Instant Articles as they want, and display and promote those same articles elsewhere however they want. No exclusivity.

It has felt extremely collaborative from the beginning

— BuzzFeed

But none of this would matter if it was hard to turn what publishers already product into Instant Articles, because they’d never adopt the format. Reckhow explains that Facebook built a “bridge” that parses the HTML and RSS of articles publishers post, and converts them into Instant Articles. Enabling the rich media tool like audio captions takes just a single extra line of code or tag.

Working with Facebook “has felt extremely collaborative from the beginning” BuzzFeed tells me. That’s a far cry from the worries most publishers had about Facebook strong-arming them into exploitative hosted content deals.

Mobile-First News

Instant Articles offers perhaps the richest mobile news reading experience today. Everything is designed to react to where users scroll, instantly play without extra taps, and be navigatable by touch or tilt.

Today, one Instant Article will be posted by each of the nine launch partners: The New York Times, The Atlantic, NBC, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed in the US; The Guardian and BBC News in the UK; and Spiegel and Bild in Germany. The posts will appear from their respective Facebook Pages in Instant Article format to iPhone users around the world, with Android version likely forthcoming. The post will also be collected on Facebook’s special Instant Articles Page. Those on the desktop or mobile web, Android, or other platforms will see the same links on the publishers’ websites formatted like normal.

Instant Articles - 4-Video (new)

Publisher-branded cover images greet users as they scroll through the feed, beckoning their taps. These covers can even use the autoplay video format that was Facebook’s big hit of 2014. Though the News Feed’s algorithm won’t play favorites, readers might. The animated Instant Article covers are certainly more eye-catching than traditional static blurbs, and those clicks tell the feed to show a story to more people.

Inside Instant Articles, the design can be remarkably slick if publishers take advantage of Facebook’s vivid media options. Matas says “We wanted to give publishers tools to make the in-article experience really rich and interactive.”

Publishers can feature the Facebook profiles of their authors and writers so readers can easily follow them. The featured image at the top can be an autoplay video with sound. What Matas calls “ambient videos”, essentially little clips that subtly add context and look like moving pictures, can be peppered throughout. Maps, photos, and galleries can feature audio captions that automatically play when you’re viewing that part of the post and fade out as you scroll by.

Most any kind of media can be viewed full screen or zoomed, and you can tilt your phone back and forth to pan around — another feature cribbed from Paper. Individual pieces of media can even be shared, commented on, or Liked. If friends open your share inside Facebook for iPhone, it will open the Instant Article. Otherwise, friends will be sent to the publisher’s site as usual.

Instant Articles - Screen Shot 2015-05-12

Referral Addicts

Over the years, Facebook has become a juggernaut of referral traffic for publishers. So much so that they’re understandly concerned about how Instant Articles could impact their businesses. Facebook contributes more than Google to many, and dwarfs that of Twitter.

“We were wary when Facebook first approached us about this opportunity last year. But the more we talked with their team, the more comfortable we became” The Atlantic’s president and COO Bob Cohn tells me. “We believe the hosting program will help us reach a bigger audience yet…And since we are able to sell ads into the Facebook template, and keep all of that revenue, we’re building our business.”

Instant Articles’ - Michael Reckhow

Instant Articles’ Product Manager Michael Reckhow

 

Outlets will certainly cede some control to the social network, and risk dilluting their brand if users think they can just go to Facebook and not regularly visit their site. They may miss some flexibility, or just generally feel odd about letting their content outside its cage. Recirculation promos for their other posts could be hidden by the minimalist Instant Articles format.

All these issues make it harder to convert casual visitors from social into heavy readers or paid subscribers, which are the whales of the news business.

Plus there’s always the nightmare that Facebook adjusts the terms to squeeze publishers down the line in the name of improving the user experience. It’s moved to tax and reduce virality for game developers dependent on it in the past. The new format could further addict publishers to Facebook, giving it the leverage of a street pusher. It gives publishers faster access to readers for free if they sell the ads today. What about tomorrow?

But mobile is a new era. Not just for news. For everything. Yet publishers have become trapped in the weak, outdated mobile browser. Instant Articles offer them the chance to modernize with the power of native apps without having to build them themselves. And Facebook designed the product in a way that gives publishers most of what they need, even if it’s not everything they want.

Facebook’s on a quest to bar the exits to its app and keep users bouncing around its endless stream of content and ads. Publishers can cooperate and come inside, or risk being left out.

Article Provided By TechCrunch

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss developing your logo, web site, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

If you like this article you may be interested in this:

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Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless?

 

Recently while researching different avenues in social media I came across an article by Tony Clark ” Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless? “. I thought it was a good read for anyone looking to add Pinterest to their Social Media Marketing strategy. With that in mind I would like to thank our friends at Copyblogger for their continuing efforts to share knowledge that makes everyone’s life easier.

Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless?

You’ve seen tons of articles raving about it.

How it’s driving more traffic than anything in the known universe. How you need to be “pinning” and have “pinnable stuff” or you’re going to fail at this magical new social network. How it’s the greatest thing since, well, the last greatest thing.

And you want someone to be straight with you. So here’s the truth …

Pinterest traffic is worthless.

But so is all traffic — unless you do something with it.

Seeing patterns that aren’t there

The problem with most of what’s being written about Pinterest traffic is that it’s pointing out the wrong things. What passes for “reporting” is someone opening Google Analytics, seeing a spike in referrals from Pinterest, and writing an “OMG! Lots of Traffic” post.

Very few are taking the time to do any due diligence on the larger picture.

Are people clicking through, or is the “traffic” just a remote call to the pinned image? Where are your visitors going? What are they doing? Does the traffic convert?

You have to ask real questions, and look for real answers, not patterns based on what others think they’re seeing.

And the wonderful thing about running a business online is that almost everything is testable, trackable, and adjustable.

What’s really going on with Pinterest traffic?

Data doesn’t lie (at least when you’re using it correctly).

Understanding your data — traffic, patterns, and conversions — is critical to your content marketing strategy. Especially when it comes to a new traffic source.

At Copyblogger Media, much of what we do is guided by data — traffic patterns, market analysis, feedback, customer input, and conversion scenarios.

And the increased Pinterest traffic we receive is treated no differently.

We watch, track, analyze, and correlate to figure out how best to capitalize on this new traffic source. Here are a few things we’ve discovered …

Traffic:

  • In the last three months (Jan 1-Mar 28), Pinterest helped traffic grow on each of our sites.
  • For Copyblogger, Pinterest was the #3 referring website, bested only by Facebook and Twitter.
  • Between January 1st and March 5th, when the 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly infographic was posted, Pinterest sent close to 15,000 visits. Based on the number of times it was pinned, this told us that fewer than half of the people who pinned the image actually clicked through.
  • In the week following that infographic, Pinterest sent 2.7 times as much traffic as the three months before.
  • Individual post activity seems to hold a long shelf life when it’s popular on Pinterest. Often, a tweet is lifeless within a day, where a pin can continue pulling traffic for weeks after being published.
  • During this same three-month period, Pinterest was the #29 referring site for StudioPress.
  • While the amount of raw Pinterest traffic — the number of visits — is smaller for StudioPress than for Copyblogger, visitors to StudioPress stay much longer and visit more pages on average. For example, the average visit duration for a Pinterest-referred visitor on Copyblogger is 0:00:32, compared to an average of 0:05:28 on StudioPress.
  • Pinterest visitors check out 1.16 pages on average after clicking through to Copyblogger, compared to 6.34 pages on StudioPress.
  • The bounce rate for Pinterest visitors on Copyblogger averages out to 91.7%, StudioPress is 49.9% on average. This is much higher than our site averages, and higher than most other traffic sources.

Visitor Flow:

  • Infographic pins have exceptionally high bounce rates and very short visits, usually less than a minute. However, other pins (such as the 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest post) that led to straight copy had much longer visits and lower bounce rates.
  • On that Pinterest marketing post, the majority went on to the main page, followed by the Internet Marketing for Smart People, Genesis, and SEO site quality pages.
  • On days when Pinterest activity was particularly high, traffic increased to each of our product sites from Copyblogger.
  • 89.6% of Pinterest-referred visitors to Copyblogger were new to the site. Only 44.4% of Pinterest referrals on StudioPress brought new visitors.
  • The StudioPress top Pinterest-pulling post included an infographic about How Developers are Driving the Business Adoption of WordPress.
  • The vast majority of other StudioPress popular pins were all themes or showcase websites. These pins, on average, showed very low bounce and exit rates, with most continuing on to the themes page, the showcase, the blog, or the features page.
  • On average, they also showed fewer new visitors, which historically correlates with low bounce rates on our properties.

OK, so what does all of this mean for you?

In short, it means:

 

  • You need to have specific goals for using the traffic from Pinterest.
  • Work with the traffic as you would from any source — driving it to landing pages and through a conversion path.

 

For example, we’ve optimized certain pages on Copyblogger to drive visitors to our list and product pages. We’ve found that the traffic from Pinterest can be also driven to those sources, if a clear call to action is present.

On StudioPress, optimizing showcase pages to drive traffic to the related themes has shown an increase of on-page time and conversions — especially for repeat visitors.

So, even though the traffic from Pinterest for StudioPress was much lower than for Copyblogger, the overall bounce rate was also lower, on-page time was higher, and conversions were better because the path was more predictable.

Armed with that data, we can better utilize the traffic on all of our sites through tracking and testing.

And so can you.

Our analysis shows us a number of best practices for converting Pinterest traffic:

  • Infographics and smaller images command more click-throughs because they’re unreadable from the Pinterest site.
  • Infographic headlines are key to getting people to click through.
  • Compelling subjects covered with too-small-for-Pinterest font choices are ideal.
  • People who do move around your site upon arrival will likely follow a predictable path (for example: a showcase theme pin leads to a page path that is more likely to start with the themes gallery than the blog).
  • You can control how traffic responds by making a specific call to action on your pin’s landing page.
  • Longer visits on pins that bring repeat traffic is an important metric, since on commerce-driven sites you may need to get someone to your page a few times before they buy.
  • Pinterest doesn’t sell stuff — you do. By funneling the traffic properly, you can convert visitors into customers.

Traffic from any source is only worthwhile if you have specific goals for it. You can use Pinterest for customer engagement, personal branding, or as an entry point to your conversion funnel.

But you need to understand what your traffic is doing in order to accomplish those goals. That’s where your data comes in. (And if you’re looking for a place to start, try Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics: An Hour A Day).

So is Pinterest traffic worthless? That’s up to you to find out.

 

Article Provided By Copyblogger

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss developing your web security, logo, web site, web application, custom programming, or need an IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

Did you like this article? Here is another you may like to read.

What is Pinterest and why should I care? - Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

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