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Password Security: Why Mine are Complicated

Password Security

Password security is essential. So when I configure a website for a client, rest assured that I will give you a complicated password. It will include upper and lower case, numbers, special characters and normally more than once.

This doesn’t always go down so well: I get moaned at, or requested it is changed to a simpler or one that the customers uses everywhere else. I say no.

So if you do find yourself in this situation, where I dig my heels in, these are my reasons:

Unauthorised logins on websites happen – a lot

If you have any type of security software on your website, you may get an email alerting that someone has tried (and failed) to get into the back of your website.

Now I should explain these logins aren’t people, they are mainly automated bots. Basically little programs that try to guess your user’s passwords. They would like nothing more than to get into the back of your website, look for vulnerable code or outdated software. If they do, they will unleash total mayhem.

More can be read about failed logins here

The record I have seen for the most automated logins in one day is around the 600 mark. Please do comment below if you can beat that.

Cleaning up hacked websites is just horrible

I have had to clean up a few hacked websites, everything from rogue files sending out phishing emails to redirects to spammy /malicious websites. It is a very long, tiresome and expensive process.

The few times I have had to undergo this arduous task, I have no doubt that the client would rather have put the money to better use. It is also quite stressful and has me looking over my shoulder for some time afterwards.

I would not be a very good (or professional) web designer

I pride myself on the quality of my work and going by the nearly 20 years I have been up and running, my customers agree. If a client’s site was hacked, that would reflect badly on me. If it happened often, then no doubt my reputation would go down. Not on my watch.

It doesn’t reflect well on the customer

Depending on how quickly it is detected, if your website keeps getting hacked, then in turn you may get a reputation with your customers: “Oh X’s website is down yet again.” This can be offputting and can result in your customers going elsewhere.

Although these constant logins will not effect your website performance they can slow it down considerably.


So all in all, I would rather be moaned at a bit for choosing a long and complicated password than all of the above.

As a basic security measure, you should have a strong password, but you should also:

  • Include security and firewall software on your website. This should also provide an activity log that flags unauthorised behaviour. It can also block or blacklist the culprits.
  • Install an SSL certificate (secure socket layer). This encrypts any transmission between the browser and your website preventing your credentials from being discovered by the wrong eyes.
  • Consider 2 factor authentication (2FA). Not only do you log into your login page, you also have to provide a code. This is provided either by text or an phone app that creates a random code.

Just one last thing: If you are going to write your passwords down store them securely. For added security, invest in password software.

60 second Social: Negative Feedback and How to Deal With It

I have a customer who sells Guides to Driving Abroad mainly via Amazon.  Much to his angst this week, he received a 2 star review from a disgruntled client, who had clearly bought his guide and knew a bit about the local area.  To say he was devastated was an understatement!

But the way he handled it was professional:  He researched the issue straight away, got the correct information and came to me (who helped compile the guide) and together we rectified the problem and had the revised copy ready for download that day.

Which is all great, but now there is still a 2 star review on his product page, that won’t go away.  He toyed with the idea of contacting Amazon to have it removed, but unless its abusive or spammy, then why would they?

There will always be people who leave negative reviews:  Some have a point, others just need to get a good hobby (preferably away from computers), but how you deal with their criticism can make the difference between a future customer hitting buy now or hitting the back button.

Reply to the feedback: Thank the person for their feedback.  Acknowledge there was an issue, but now the error has been corrected and ask them to download the modified version.  Even if the person was very brusque with their language and the review was quite damning, this demonstrates to everyone else reading that you took the criticism professionally and used it to improve your product rather than turning it into a full blown slanging match.

Get some good reviews:  Reviews are tallied and your average rating is given.  So despite the 2 stars, now might be a good time to contact the people that have downloaded the book and liked it.  Ask them first what they thought of it.  If the feedback is negative then get an insight what was wrong and act on that advice.  If the feedback is positive then ask if they would be willing to leave a 5 star review on Amazon.  This in turn will bump up your average.


Is your shop ready for Christmas?

Every year, roughly around the last week of July, Harrods, open up their Seasonal department selling hampers and goods ready for Christmas.  The unveiling of the Christmas shopfront gets a mention as well if it’s a particularly good one.

It does seem peculiar that while we are basking in the soaring temperatures, and looking forward to the Summer holidays, the Marketing Department at Harrods are deciding on the best champagne to offer the super-rich in their £20,000 Christmas hamper (yes you did read that figure correctly!).

On writing this article, we are just approaching the end of September and just like every other year: daytime TV commercials are mainly for toys and most of the supermarkets and stores have a small seasonal department that will only get larger from now until December.  The websites of the popular High Street stores haven’t got their Christmas decorations up on or offline yet.  But give it another month and each one will have a prominent Christmas section in place.

As with every year, DVH Design, is currently working on a couple of ecommerce websites that have a deadline to be up and running to take Christmas orders, but they should already be online taking orders by then.

Let me give you an example:  Tracey, one of my Facebook friends, boldly announced on 11 September that she has already got her presents wrapped up and ready for Christmas and was just about to start writing her Christmas cards.

I don’t even consider any preparations for Christmas until after my birthday (which is exactly 5 weeks before Christmas).   But I guarantee almost everyone knows one person who leaves their Christmas shopping until the last minute.   My recent Facebook Research

So judging from general feedback, the average shopper does their Christmas shopping around mid-November.  But your online shop needs to be ready before September.  This way you not only get the Deb’s, Vicky’s and Andy’s, but also the Tracey’s and Michelle’s.

But  it doesn’t stop there:  Just like Christmas itself, you need to prepare at least a month or so before anyone arrives at your shop.  After all, how do they find your store in the first place?

Seasonal Keyphrases:  Just like with any other time of the year, you should compile a list of keyphrases that your target market audience is likely to be searching for.  For example, a dressmaker may rely on a phrase such as christmas party dresses whereas a store specialising in onesies would adopt a more problem/solution apparoach eg christmas gifts for teenage boys.  A good tool for this, is Google Trends or if you have a Google Account, try the Adwords Keyword Planner tool  (you don’t have to sign up for a CPC account).

Google trends show a steady seasonal line for Christmas party dressesGoogle Trends show a steady seasonal line for Christmas party dresses

Content:  Having a good idea of which keyphrases to use is a good start. but you really need to include Christmas categories in your shop, indicate that you’re now taking orders for Christmas.  Maybe later on around October/November, take this up a notch and emphasise Christmas more on your home page and include information such as the latest day/time for orders to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve.  This not only gives the search engines time to crawl your site and list your seasonal changes but also indicates to your visitors that they have come to the right place and their search hasn’t been in vain.

Amazon Delivery DatesAmazon have a Christmas delivery page set up

And Harrods are now taking orders (circled)And even Harrods are now taking orders for Christmas hampers (circled)

Advertising campaigns:   Cost-per-click or paid advertising campaigns should also reflect  the holiday season early on.  You should also set up a separate seasonal advertising campaign to run simultaneously with your everyday one.

In my humble opinion, it is bizarre to begin thinking about Christmas during a heatwave (even a bit depressing), but then again Harrods are a very successful brand and a source of inspiration amongst retailers.  Where they set the initial benchmark, other stores follow.  So what are you waiting for?


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