Hackers Abound While Owners are Distracted by Virus

Hackers Abound While Owners are Distracted by Virus

While our customers are off being compliant with self distancing themselves, we at NetCetra have noticed a sudden up sweep in the number of attacks and phishing. Perhaps their day jobs are on hold also. Whatever the reasons, there is a trend of an increase in attacks.
The hackers may believe that we are too busy viewing the Market Roller coaster, or busy trying to make certain our staffs and businesses are going to ride this out and come back stronger. They believe that we are too busy to pay attention to our websites, and have decided to strike while we are distracted.
Make certain that your emails are truly correct and not a virus being sent to destroy your computer, website and business. Examine every interaction that you have, which I am certain, have increased ten fold since the shutdowns and social distancing began.
Be very careful who you answer and what you download. Remember, your computer, site and business are only as safe as you make it!

Alternate Text:

Alternate Text: What it is and How it helps your SEO

The Marketing department’s most often asked question is “What is this alternate text on my bill? What are you folks doing? Is this really necessary for my Website?”

  1. Yes, it really is necessary for your Website’s Marketing to work.
  2. There will be times you will see this because we are not receiving any information from our clients regarding: Testimonials, New Projects, Before and After pictures or just plain content.
  3. What is Alternate Text? Well I just went over to 3 of the largest training sites and pulled down their information regarding Alternate Text and I will share it with you here so that you can understand what it is and why we use Alternate Text.

We use Alternate Text to improve your Search Engine Optimization.  This practice has been shown, especially now, to help bring people to your site and to increase your ranking with Google.

As you will find out below, Images are more important now than ever. In addition to finding your website, it also works with the ADA in helping you to communicate with people who are visually impaired or completely blind.  Your ADA plug in can read the alternate text to them allowing them to “see” the pictures and understand their place in the site and their significance.

I ask that you read below and find out exactly what Alternate Text is so that your understanding of our work will be better. Also, if you have any questions, you can always contact us and we will be more than happy to explain to you. Just to let you know even if we are sent new pictures and testimonials, we will still be using Alternate Text.

The following is from Moz:

“Why is Alt Text Important?

  1. Accessibility

Alt text is a tenet of accessible web design. Its original (and still primary) purpose is to describe images to visitors who are unable to see them. This includes screen readers and browsers that block images, but it also includes users who are sight-impaired or otherwise unable to visually identify an image. Including alt text with your images ensures all users, regardless of visual ability, can appreciate the content on your site.

  1. Image SEO

Using alt text on your images can make for a better user experience, but it may also help earn you both explicit and implicit SEO benefits. Along with implementing image title and file naming best practices, including alt text may also contribute to image SEO.

While search engine image recognition technology has vastly improved over the years, search crawlers still can’t “see” the images on a website page like we can, so it’s not wise to leave the interpretation solely in their hands. If they don’t understand, or get it wrong, it’s possible you could either rank for unintended keywords or miss out on ranking altogether.”

Meanwhile HubSpot’s take on this is just as important: “See Image Below

 

Today, Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) deliver just as many image results as they do text-based results. The screenshot above is the first SERP Google produces for the search term, “email newsletter design.” Notice how, in addition to the “Images” tab at the top, Google pulls in a substantial pack of clickable images to the beginning of the main results page — before any organic text results are even visible.
Despite your best SEO efforts, you could still be missing out on another source of organic traffic: your website’s images. How do you get in on this traffic source? Image alt text.”

Yoast is also a great resource that we use on everyone’s WordPress Website. Their SEO product helps us move in the right direction, especially regarding readability and SEO. They are amazing and innovative, working and adapting to make certain they work in sync with Google so that the sites using their product can show up as well as they can. The following information is from an article from Yoast:

Image SEO alt tag and title tag optimization

Adding images to your articles encourages people to read them, and well-chosen images can also back up your message and get you a good ranking in image search results. But you should always remember to give your images good alt attributes: alt text strengthens the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improves the accessibility of your website. This article explains all about alt and title attributes and why you should optimize them.

Alt Text and SEO

Google’s article about images has a heading “Use descriptive alt text”. This is no coincidence because Google places a relatively high value on alt text to determine not only what is on the image but also how it relates to the surrounding text. This is why, in our Yoast SEO content analysis, we have a feature that specifically checks that you have at least one image with an alt tag that contains your focus key phrase.

Image Alt Attributes Assessment

Yoast SEO checks for images and their alt text in your posts: We’re definitely not saying you should spam your focus key phrase into every alt tag. You need good, high quality, related images for your posts, where it makes sense to have the focus keyword in the alt text. Here’s Google’s advice on choosing a good alt text:

When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page. Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.

If your image is of a specific product, include both the full product name and the product ID in the alt tag so that it can be more easily found. In general: if a key phrase could be useful for finding something that is on the image, include it in the alt tag if you can. Also, don’t forget to change the image file name to be something actually describing what’s on it.”

Where We are Using Alt Text

Much of this will be done in your Media Library, we can update the Alternate Text on the pictures and by doing so, it updates the picture wherever it may show up, whether in a blog or on a page itself. You will not see the work being done, but even by changing your Alternate Text monthly makes the Google Bot or Spider believe that there is always new content on your site, as opposed to changing the pictures and writing new content.

If you have new content, or things that you want us to point out as a special, please send it to us. When we work in Alternate Text, we will be doing it in in your Website Medial Library as well as the Google My Business that we have set up for your business.

In fact, we just did a Google Seminar, pushed by Google itself for SCORE regarding the importance of the Google My Business Profile.
You may not see us, but we are there and are working hard to make your site as visible as possible.

COVID-19: And the Importance of Your Web Site

COVID-19: And the Importance of Your Web Site

NetCetra’s clients own their websites, either personally or through their businesses. This fact is extremely important now with the shutdown of many institutions and the “work from home” policies that are spreading as the virus does. This makes your web site much more important to your customers and prospective customers. Make sure that any alerts, messages and instructions are plainly situated on the home page. Be sure that your hours of operation, phone number, address and directions are accurate. This holds true for both your web site and Google My Business.

E Commerce is going to increase as people stay at home more. So be sure everything is accurate in your cart. Make sure your shipping options are accurate. Be ready for an increase in phone questions as well as your contact us form. Make sure it is working correctly. A lot of forms are constantly upgrading their programming to ensure that they are secure. Sometimes it can cause the contact form to work incorrectly, check it.

Netcetra has made contingency plans for the office and data center. There will not be any interruption in these services.

Some clients may be allowing their employees to work from home. Check to see if you can have access to your email from your vendor’s email server. This will eliminate the need to have your employee set up a mail program on their home computer. NetCetra offers this to all their clients that use us for their email. Just put: mail.yourdomain in any browser. Once you do this, you will see: a Zimbra box. Add your full email address and password. This will allow you to work from our mail server. When you go back to the office you can download all your email.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Jim Mahlmann

USA Today: Americans With Disabilities Act, Internet is still closed to the blind

Many of the headlines began the same way: “Blind man sues Playboy …”

That’s page view gold for news websites.

Stories breathlessly detailed Donald Nixon’s lawsuit claiming the Playboy website lacks compatibility with screen reading software, including “alt text” used for photo descriptions.

That was in November 2018.

Would the reaction have been the same if the lawsuit targeted websites with crucial public policy information? Take the websites for all of the 2020 presidential candidates, for example.

Voters with disabilities who try to begin making informed decisions about presidential candidates may be stymied when visiting any websites for candidates of both parties.

To read more of this article click this link.

Do not let this happen to your website, we offer these services for WordPress. Contact us today for more information at (732)-262-7888.

Google Ads (Adwords) Are Changing

Google Adwords started as text ads in 2000. They were always effective but never really easy to set up. They have actually gotten more complex to set up as Google continues to modify how they are viewed. The trick with Google Ads is knowing how to set them up to be most effective for “best bang for your buck”. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars every month. Businesses that want visibility in the local and national Google search market like and use this program to get noticed.

One of the issues that have developed over the years is the number of ads that appear on the final search page. Google use to have 3 or 4 ads at the top of the page. Now, if a topic is extremely competitive, you will find ads on the top, bottom and sides. Businesses that offer a product must also compete with Google “product display” ads with images at the top of the page.

Google is now pushing video ads. There are several types. All ads originate through a company You Tube channel. The most popular video ad and the most cost effective is the “instream ad”. It literally costs pennies on the dollar compared to other types of Google ads and can get plenty of exposure when set up correctly. This is not to say that I would replace the conventional ad campaign with Google but it is a supplement worth testing.

Jim Mahlmann

Managing Partner with NetCetra LLCJim has been handling Google Ads for over15 years. He is a certified Google Ads partner

Asbury Park Press Digital Attack Article on 1/23/19

I own an established web design company in Ocean County for the last 25 years. We have, in that time, added a data center to house our own servers and established ourselves in the internet marketing workplace. We have a rich background in this area. NetCetra, LLC has completed thousands of web site designs and currently hosts that many web sites and business servers for various companies. I have never, in all those years, witnessed the magnitude of what the Lazars went through more than a few times. Costs for web sites have fluctuated in the past few years Companies like Go Daddy, who offer low cost sites and hosting to start, are counting on a degree of sophistication from the client or their web designer. Using a business email address with your domain address adds credibility to your business. We offer mail server addresses for this purpose. I always advise my clients to have a third-party email address like G Mail to add security. Unfortunately, the Lazars contracted off shore.  The pricing was too cheap and there was realistically not enough time to be ready for their busiest selling period.  Unless you already have an established presence on the internet, you will not be able to develop even a local presence without using “pay per click”. Present day requirements of security certificates, ecommerce carts, ADA requirements and many more aspects, depending on your site mission, cannot be done cheaply, securely and quickly anymore.

You Need a Backup Email Address

The same thing always happens, as I can attest as someone who runs a hosting company with email servers. I get a support request to check their email address because they are not getting any mail. Sometimes, it can be fixed without asking questions and sometimes it can’t. Then, since we are unable to communicate with that person, the support request goes unanswered until they reach out to us in a different way. The best way to avoid this situation is to always have a back up email address. Google’s G Mail is a perfect program for this. It’s free and reliable. I do not recommend it for a main business address. Your business email address should be associated with your web site address. First, it’s more professional and secondly it can be construed that you are not a genuine business.

A backup email program will allow you to communicate even when your main email address has a problem or worse, when it gets hacked. I also prefer to use it when I’m not sure if I want the other party finding out who I am right away. Sometimes giving your business email address can get you swamped with spam. Let G Mail catch it all. Also, get rid of your AOL address. It has a bad reputation in the business world and not very professional.

Jim Mahlmann

COO

Web Content Accessibility for Business

NetCetra just went through a few years helping our clients upgrade their web sites to conform to Google’s requirements for “responsive” (easy to read on any device) and “secure visitor viewing” of your web site through https.

We have been watching the WCAG guidelines that were established in 2008. We felt, at the time, that it would not impact many of our clients for some time. Well, that time is here, along with the lawsuits due to the guidelines. The lawsuits are occurring because the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations are outdated. Here is a short outline of why over 1,000 businesses were sued in the first half of 2018.

  • You must provide non-text alternatives for any text content so that it can be clearly understood by a person with a disability. An example of this is a restaurant menu. It must offer an alternative of either very large text, audio or symbols.
  • Prerecorded video: An alternative must be offered to allow a person with a disability to understand the video. An example could be a video production explaining a product or service. Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content.
  • Captions for live and prerecorded media. Creating captions similar to text alternatives in the first point.

A complete description is available by searching for “How to Meet WCAG 2”.  Retailers and professional services are the most vulnerable at this time. The ADA is trying to address this.

Once regulations are established, litigation will fall under the government and not civil law suits.  It is recommended that you review your web site and decide how you can avoid this problem.

We believe that this is not only NOT going away but will become even more widespread in the future. A simple product like Google Translator, offered in over 100 languages, can eliminate the language barrier, however according to the ADA it is still a legal issue.

 

Jim Mahlmann

COO

NetCetra LLC

Email Marketing, Killing the Golden Goose

How easy! How cheap! Send out 3000 emails for the cost of the ESP (email service provider) monthly fee. Most of the time it is a great deal cost wise and the templates help you set up the email so it looks professional. The problem is how often do you send a broadcast out? Once a month, twice a month? Every time you have a special or news? That is where the problem occurs. It is better to have a news letter that comes out monthly and contains a few different topics. Something for everyone in your customer’s demographics. Here is an example of a newsletter based on a template to cover varied news and images.

Header – Company logo

Main Body – Introduction for the month

Featured product, service, employee or event

Spotlight on customers using your product or service (testimonial)

Or possibly a Case Study of a recent project or event

Remember to link back to your web site for “additional information”. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows you to keep the information in the newsletter brief and secondly, Google likes to see links going to your site. It helps with visibility.

Keeping to this time table will keep customers from opting out of your newsletter and if you really have something very important to say then they will notice it and you will have a better chance of them reading it.

Some businesses do not have the time or expertise to handle this project, NetCetra does it for many clients. Let us know and we can review the best layout to help you stay in front of your customers.

Important GDPR Information for NJ

I recently spoke to Melanie Willoughby, Executive Director of the New Jersey Business Action Center. This is a state run organization to help businesses in NJ.

She was kind enough to send the following information to help with any questions.

 

On our team it would be Bill and for the U.S. DOC it would be North and South offices all info below.

South is anyone in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex Counties and below.

 

Mr. William E. SPEAR

International Business Advocate

NJ Business Action Center

Trenton, NJ 08625-0820 USA

P:  609-777-4125 F: 609-292-5509

william.spear@sos.nj.gov

 

 

NORTH:

Susan Widmer, Director

U.S. Commercial Service, Northern New Jersey

U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration

Susan.Widmer@trade.gov

Tel: 973-645-4682 ext. 216

www.export.gov      www.njdec.org

 

SOUTH:

Janice C. Barlow

Sr. International Trade Specialist

U.S. Department of Commerce/U.S. Commercial Service

997 Lenox Drive, Building 3 – Suite 111

Lawrenceville, NJ 08628

tel: 609-896-2731

www.export.gov/newjersey

 

They seem eager to get answers.

 

Jim Mahlmann

COO

NetCetra LLC