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How To Improve Your Website Security

John Dion

By John Dion

Author: John Dion

How To Improve Your Website Security

How To Improve Your Website Security

By John Dion

In recent years, building an online presence has been made easy by the many tools available to the public. From Joomla, WordPress, to Drupal content management online has become easier. You can now build a website and keep it running without necessarily spending years in the learning process. Though this is the case, there are many issues that come with a website and one of them is security. There are many website owners who concentrate too much on what the website does and forget about keeping their website safe. It is important that you understand how to improve your website’s security to protect your interests and those of your visitors.

 

The following are some of the things that will help you keep your website secure from people with unlawful intentions.

Frequent Updates

Updates cannot be emphasized enough. The main reason why most websites are compromised is because they still use outdated software that is unsecured. As soon as a new plugin or CMS version is available, you should update your website. Hacking in the modern world is automated. This means bots will be scanning through websites constantly to find loopholes to attack it. Get notification apps that inform you when there are updates and you can be sure that your site will not be vulnerable due to the software in use.

Passwords

Most web owners have passwords that cannot be considered safe. You cannot just have your username as admin and your password as admin. If you have a password appearing on the list of the most common passwords, you can be sure that your website will definitely be hacked. Why then should you expose your website to hackers? It is import to have a password that is not related to anything about you such as birth date or any other personal information. The best way to get passwords that randomly generated because they are difficult for hackers to find out. Make sure you do not use the same password in different sites. If one is cracked, the hacker might try to use the password on other accounts. If you have many accounts, you might be wondering how you will remember all of them. Well, you do not have to because there are password managements systems to help you out on this.

User Access

It is possible that your site has different users logging in to work on the site. The users should have appropriate permission to access different areas. If there is a need, you can give a user access momentarily and then reduce it when they have completed a task. For instance, if you want a blogger to post a guest blog, you can give them access without administrative privileges. You can check logs to view the activities of the user when they are logged in. This will help you monitor any suspicious activities on the site.

Change CMS Settings

As mentioned, most attacks are automated and some depend on the weakness of default settings. Hackers know these settings and will, therefore, create bots that can manipulate your site from this perspective. To be on the safe side, you should change the default settings as soon as you install the content management system. It is easy to change the settings during the installation process though they can be done later.

Backups Are Important

Website security is about ensuring that the content and data is safe from people with unlawful intentions as well as catastrophic events. Such events can take everything with it and this is why backups exist. You might not see the need for backing up everything but when something happens, you will thank yourself for backing your site. The good news is that there are effective backup solutions that webmasters can use. It is important to have website backups but you should not risk it all by storing it on your web server. This is because the backups will contain information that you do not want hackers to get their hands on.

Server Configuration Files

It is important to understand web server configuration files. For instance, Microsoft IIS servers use web.config, Nginx servers use nginx.conf and Apache web servers use .htaccess file. These files are very important and powerful and are often found in the root web directory. These files will allow web owners to execute rules by servers including the directives that will be upgrading your site’s security. Some of the rules that will help in improving your security include preventing directory browsing, preventing image hotlinking and protecting the sensitive files on your site.

Include SSL In your Security Arsenal

Well, there are many posts claiming that SSL installation will solve all your security problems. This is not entirely true because SSL will not prevent malicious attacks, it will only protect communication between the website server and the browser. This makes sure that there is not interception of this traffic which is important. SSL plays an important role in e-commerce sites and any other sites that involve the submission of sensitive information such as bank account details and Personally Identifiable Information. The SSL certificate will protect your visitors’ information and this will in turn protect you from all the legal issues attached to being non-compliant with PCI DSS.

File Permissions

File permissions determine who can do what to a certain file. Each file comes with 3 permissions that are presented by numbers. There is Read (4) which allows viewing of the contents, Write (2) which allows changing of the contents and execute (1) which allows the running of the script or program file. If you want users to have permission for different elements you can just add the numbers. For instance, 6 means that the user can write and execute.

Conclusion

The above steps are some of the most important steps you need to know when improving security on your website. You now have a clue on how to improve your website’s security and this will help you a great deal in saving money and time. Tight security also gives your visitors the confidence they need to freely use your website.

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Biggest Web Design Trends Of 2017

Biggest Web Design Trends Of 2017

By John Dion

There have been predictions of the top web design trends to expect in 2017. While these predictions have been correct, it is important to dig a little deeper to explain what these trends are really about and what you can expect from them. It is important to understand the trends and the tools and resources that will help you maximize their potential as you improve your designing. The following are some of the biggest web design trends of 2017. Clearly, there might be many others that are not here but these have what it takes to be on this list.

Imagery Web Design

Stock photos have always played a major part in the world of digital communication. Whether it is a blog, an e-commerce, or portfolio, stock photos always find their way on the site. The use of images is aimed at engaging users and making it easy for them to understand what the website is trying to communicate. Sites have been using the same old stock photos with people smiling and the usual cheesy images. Well, thanks to the new web design imagery trend, designers can now use more natural looking images. There are communities such as Picjumbo and Unsplash which are contributing a great deal to the use of appealing photos that do not look like the same old stock photos that are all too familiar.

Video Background

A website is a form of storytelling tool and telling a story is more effective when there are motion and visuals involved. The visitor will understand the content better when there are emotions and ideas transferred through motion. We have already seen business starting the use of videos in their websites, this trend is growing bigger in 2017 and there are possibilities of 3D graphics and high definition videos. This will build a real life impression that improves the user’s experience. Statistics are indicating that people are in love with videos and this explains why web designers are leaning on their side. There are over 50 billion video views each month and this is a number too high to ignore.

 

YouTube is continuously growing popular and overtaking conventional TV. This is because it gives people the freedom of choosing what to see when they want to see it. It makes sense to include this popular trend in web design to maximize your website’s potential. This trend has a drawback with is a longer loading time. Speed is essential in websites and when a trend is slowing down the loading time, people will be forced to wait just a little longer for a page to load.

Personal Branding

Whether you pay attention to it or not, personal branding is here with us. How people perceive you and your identity are two different things. The reason why personal branding is in use it to make sure you align your mission and vision such that people perceive you as you want to be perceived rather that leaving people to speculate. Without personal branding, your audience will have different opinions about you and not everyone will think of you as you want to be perceived. This trend gives you the control you need to tell people who you are through your website.

Mobile First Website

If you want to succeed in your industry, you need to pay close attention to statistics especially when it comes to access to the internet. The world has gone digital and this means that more people are finding businesses online. What matters are the devices they are using to find products and services. According to statistics, more people are now accessing sites using mobile phones than those using desktop computers.

 

A website that does not offer a mobile friendly version is a great hindrance to people using mobile devices. Experience is everything when it comes to users and the internet. If a user does not like how the website appears on their small screen, they will find one that looks attractive. It might not be of the same quality like the one they have left but it looks good to them and that is all that matters. For this reason, you should have a mobile first approach to ensure that you do not lock out all the mobile users trying to find your business. 2017 is full of innovations that revolve around mobile friendly sites and designs that cater to mobile device users.

 Modular Design

Modular, also referred to as grid based design might not be all that new but has made it to the list of the biggest web design trends of 2017. This trend started gaining popularity because of its reusable nature and the fact that it is responsive friendly with tiles stack well on different screen. The layouts are flexible and will look clean and presentable on any screen size. Some of the best examples of sites that are successfully using the modular design trend include Instagram and Pinterest.

Single Page Web Design

Web browsing patterns are changing and it seems like scrolling is winning over clicking. The use of mobile devices is on the rise and this is significantly changing the design of websites. With smaller screens and scrolling being an easier option, most uses prefer not to click and wait for a link to open. They’d rather scroll around using their fingers on the touch screens. One page sites present a lot of information on one page. They started getting popular a while ago but they are making much more sense today.

Conclusion

If you have been following the web design scene then you must have had an idea of the biggest web design trends of 2017. This is because some of these trends started gaining traction a few years ago only that they are getting popular now. Web design is a quickly evolving industry and we expect to see new trends that might even get bigger than those in this list. It only makes sense to stay updated to make sure that your website is making the best out of the available technology

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Best Website Design Company In The World Focus On

Best Website Design Company In The World Focus On

By John Dion

While all web designers have different styles they follow, there are a few elements that draw the line between the mediocre and the top web designers in the world. These elements are not secrets, they might be things all designers know only that the manner in which they are done is different. We will look at the things that the best website design company in the world focus on and how they can be important in your case.

  1. Space

Space will always remain an important element in web design. This is because it dictates the flow of the content on the website and determines its readability. Designers who know what they are doing will use space in ways that you could not have imagined a while ago. They are using more space between text lines and general vast spaces on the sites. The most important aspect here is consistency. There needs to be consistency in spacing, especially in similar elements. Space also plays a major role when it comes to the creation of focal points. Text or images surrounded by white space appear larger and can attract attention.

 

Keep in mind that space is not just always white; it refers to the background without elements and can take different colors. Expert web designers start with important elements such as the menu and organize them with space in mind to make sure that elements are clear and stand out on their own.

  1. Use Of Simple Navigation

Contrary to what most people think, navigation needs not be complex. Navigation should be easy to use and identify. It is also very important to keep navigational menus simple to avoid overwhelming users. Depending on the website in question, you can keep the items on the navigation between 5 and 10. Professional designers make sure that the navigation includes elements that help the visitors navigate through the site. For instance, there need to be directional arrows on a site that uses parallax scrolling.

 

The main reason why designers make sure that the navigation is easy to use is because the easier it is, the more interactive users get on the site. When users find it difficult to navigate the website, they will probably leave as soon as they land on the site. High chances are that they will go to your direct competitor which is not good for business.

  1. Clear About Us Page

Making a clear and easy to understand About Us page is among the important things the best web design company in the world focus on. It is very important, especially for small business owners to tell their target audience who they are. The about us page needs to tell the visitor who you are, what you do and how they can benefit from your business. Designers can also make sure that they create a section with testimonials or success stories to show the audience what your business has been doing.

 

A big mistake that people make is having a long wordy about us page. Keep this page simple and clear but with enough information to let the visitor know who you are and what your business is about.

  1. Contact Information

As a visitor navigates the site, one of the most important things that they will look for is the contact details. Without this important information, it can be stressful for users to contact you. This is why you need a special page for contact information. The key here is to make the page and the information highly visible. Apart from making your business appear legit, it is a good way to communicate with potential clients and customers.

  1. Call To Action

Every good designer knows the importance of the call to action of a website. This is the statement that gets visitors signing up for a newsletter, buying products or visiting other sites. The secret is to have a convincing call to action and have it placed at strategic points. To make sure that this happens, the call to action needs to be strong and obvious this means that the call to action should reflect on what the website is about and contain the direction you want your visitors to take. Placement should be in visible areas such as at the bottom of all pages on the website.

  1. Search Function

There are many times that we always want to find information on a site but do not have the time to navigate through everything. This is where designers can make things easy for your website visitors. With a search feature, you only need to enter keywords and click on search. This will give you all the content related to the keyword you used. Finding information becomes easy for your visitors and this makes sure they do not leave your site as soon as they arrive.

  1. Images

It is clear that most people are attracted to images and videos more than text. A good designer makes sure that there are images and videos that make it easy for a designer to understand the website and the business it represents. People love to see things in action, just make sure you have images and videos that are relatable.

  1. Security

Your website is your online representation and should be secure. There are many people who are interested in acquiring information from your site unlawfully. This is why you need to make sure that the website is secure from hackers. The designer should set a foundation for a secure site and make sure that all loopholes are eliminated.

  1. Exceptional Design

In a world where there are millions of websites, it is important to stand out. This is why you need a designer who is creative enough to create a unique site. A simple unique website with easy navigation will attract and keep visitors.

Conclusion

There are many web designers but for you to get a website that will deliver what you want you need to know the elements that the best web design company in the world focus on. This post highlights some of these elements.

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Is Web Design Dying

Is Web Design Dying?

By John Dion

In the past few years, we have experienced significant evolution in the world of web design. At different points, critics have stated that web design is a dying profession due to the many changes driven by technology in this industry. Is web design dying? Well, a lot has been said but we need to have a better look at this argument from a different perspective. Changes are always happening across industries and this does not kill professions. What happens is that professionals who change with technology are always valuable in their line of work.

 

While web designers that used Photoshop and later sliced the designs into HTML lost their spot, designers with vast experience and great skills are valuable members of this industry. Even critics have said that UX designers will continue to be in demand and this just tells you that the professional is not on its death bed. Let us look at some of the reasons why web design is not dying.

Website Maintenance And Security

To safeguard the reputation of a business, website security is an important element. Web structure, design and maintenance are also important in SEO. Hackers are always going through the web looking for sites that have outdated security. Poor security might lead to a leak of users’ details or infection of the visitors’ computers. The main reason why a business needs a web designer and an SEO expert is to make sure that the website’s security details are updated. If you have a complex website, such as those that require personal customer details like e-commerce websites, you will need an experienced designer who is updated on security elements.

Exceptional Online Branding

Web design plays an important role in the facilitation of high-quality content that has been created for branding purposes. If you doubt this, you should look at large corporations. These companies have a marketing and branding team that also includes web designers. Web designers have the ability to create website pages that work positively towards marketing a company’s brand. This is the point where web design and marketing are integrated. The line that existed between marketing and technology has long been crossed. Designers have diversified their skills through the learning of marketing, branding and content which is why they remain relevant.

Special Website Functions

Technology is evolving rapidly, and almost everything we do on a daily basis is somehow connected to the internet. For this reason, design and development have not been left untouched. This is a clear indication that the skills of designers should evolve with the ever changing technology for them to remain relevant. Designers need to learn different skills such as customized blogging, customized apps, and android coding because this profession has gone beyond what they were used to. Is web design dying? No, it is not, this profession is just evolving and this should not be mistaken for dying.

Marketing Expertise and Online Branding

When a website has a digital marketing strategy, the budgeting will be efficient and will cover all the necessary marketing plans. Digital strategies also give way to correct online marketing and schedules for appropriate content. There are content planners who can work on these activities but the experience and skills of designers will go a long way to help you optimize your marketing strategies. As stated marketing and design work together in new-age design concepts to create a high-quality website. This is a website that is not only visually appealing, but one that will get to the target audience and serve its purpose which is to market the business.

Web Design is A Form Of Art

If a designer is still willing to learn new skills and ideas and incorporate them into their work, this profession remains highly viable for them. Today, user experience is an essential element and a hot topic. It refers to the look, feel and the content expected by visitors when they visit a website. The expectation of users is continuously growing especially when it comes to elements such as how the site feels and how it looks. Elements such as backgrounds, fonts, infographics, layouts, videos, color schemes and other related things will always be important to web designing. For those that take their time to learn a few more skills every year, the profession will always be in demand. Designing a website is now becoming more of an art than a normal process. We all know that art is more valued and plays an important role in the appearance of the things it appears on.

Quality vs. Standard Sites

A lot of the websites you will find on the web today are created using frameworks such as Magento, WordPress, Drupal and many others. These frameworks only provide standard websites as opposed to quality website that is foundational and have shortcuts that allow website owners to save money and time. There have been advancements in the web and you can find templates for almost anything. You will find themes with templates that can help you make almost all websites you have ever imagined. Though this is the case, there are complexities that need to be dealt with and this cannot be done with mere website templates. According to some experts, automation will be popular but it will never replace the need for a quality website but it might lower the opportunities that designers have in this field.

 

Though most small business owners are only interested in a website that will give them web presence, there are still many businesses that value a high-quality website that will have more elements to improve the user experience. Designers who sharpen their skills will still have a lot of opportunities.

Conclusion

Is Web design dying? As you have seen, there are many reasons why this profession is not dead. As long as designers are willing to change with technology and embrace new ideas, they will continue playing integral parts in the designing of websites across industries especially now that most people are shifting to the more flexible responsive web design.

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Trends You'd Like To See Die Off In Web Design

Trends You’d Like To See Die Off In Web Design

By John Dion

Web design has trends that come and go while some stay longer. Some go after new technology is invented while some stay longer than we expect. There are some that are overtaken by time and still hang around. These are the trends we would like to say goodbye to. Web design trends are evolving faster than before and while we can all agree that page counters, pop-up windows and scrolling marquees are dead and buried, we already have modern trends that have become useless. We will look at the trends you’d like to see die off in web design and why they need to exit this industry.

Sliders and Carousels

There is a bunch of reasons why sliders or carousels are bad. If it is not the bloodless design move, it has to be the conversion and usability. From a user’s perspective, auto-forwarding sliders have to be among the worst element you can incorporate into your website. Look at it this way, if a user does not like what they see, they will probably scroll away and not just sit there waiting to see if the next slide is as boring as the first. What if they were in love with a slide and you just take it away? You invested in a website for them and it only makes sense that you give them time to digest what they like and the control to go to the next item. You should make sure your website is conversion-oriented because everything on the site needs to be encouraging the user to do what you want them to and anything that hinders this should be thrown out of the strategy.

Flat Design

A while back, flat design was the in thing and it was invited to sit at the table of hot trends in web design. People said it was sophisticate, beautiful, and simple, but according to what we see today, we are not sure it was all these. Flat design allowed for minimizing through stripping things down and focusing of important things such as usability instead of simulating familiar experiences users are accustomed to. Additionally, websites with flat designs look cool and are pretty fast.

 

Though this is the case, flat design is not short of usability challenges. Those who have been following can remember Windows 8 Metro UI which was more than flat. The design did not pay attention to the context and signals that users need to interact with the web intuitively. Google then came and introduced Material Design which puts some motion back to the screen. This framework that comes with guidelines and tools that are needed. Though Material Design is effective and intuitive, it limits some essential things such as expressions and creativity.

Distracting Or Complex Animations

Animation is a hot trend today. It is a powerful tool that designers can use in reinforcing concepts and enhancing the website’s usability. It is common for new trends to be abused. At one point, we were all kids and were susceptible to new toys. We all fell for the shiniest coolest toys and in some cases, we overused and abused them. We have grown up and this susceptibility is still with us. New trends are grabbed right off the table while they are hot and some people tend to use them inappropriately. Animation, can and is a great tool but once it is over used, it becomes a distraction and joins the list of your website’s undoing.

 

Excessive use of motion on a website is among the trends you’d like to see die off in web design. Designers should make sure they limit the use of animation because overusing will do the exact opposite of what it is meant for. It is a good idea to validate all the motion that shows up on a website and make sure that any animation used is working positively towards the good of the website. If you can’t moderate the motion, eliminate it all together.

Scroll Jacking

Can you think about being in a situation where you have no control? Well, is the situation pleasing? We are humans and we like being in control especially when we are dealing with machines. Scroll jacking is like a supervisor who is always on your shoulder. This can be annoying and patronizing. If you have done research on a product and been forced to go through explanation slides that tell you why you need the products, then you have been a scroll jacking victim. This can be frustrating and annoying. This is a serious challenge to the usability of a website and can work negatively for a website.

 

A website and digital products need to be intuitive. It should be open to the exploration by users freely without having to be forced to view a certain slide or content. Scroll jacking interferes with the freedom users need to view what people want and assumes that one size fits all.

Sidebars

Purposeless side bars have refused to completely fade away. They have been hanging on a string since 2014 and we can all agree that they need to let go. Some of the working designs are doing well because they have eliminated these annoying sidebars. The main question is why is the sidebar important? Most people claim that it helps in navigation but what is the primary navigation for? The side bar content does one thing very well and this is to distract users from what you want them to do on a particular web page.

Conclusion

Some of these trends were really big deals when they first appeared. However, time has passed and technology has changed. Some of them are now senseless and distracting to say the least. As this year progresses, we look forward to using the current trends and others that come. Their use will purely be based on results which is why those that don’t deliver are sent to their grave. There are many other trends you’d like to see die off in web design but these somehow found themselves in this list.

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What Is The Future Of Web Development In 2017

What Is The Future Of Web Development In 2017

By John Dion

In the past few years, the web has become a part of our everyday lives. We use websites for a lot of things from banking, shopping to reading daily news. Because of the high use of websites, the demand for web development is at its highest. What web developers can do is huge and this is why we have different sites despite there being so many.  As 2017 progresses, we cannot help but ask ourselves, what is the future of web development in 2017? In this post, we will have a look at the many different technologies and additions that we expect to grace this year in relation to web development.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Whenever there is a mention of the future of web development, you cannot lack the topic of artificial intelligence. Right now, it will not just be a mention because there have been a lot of advancements and research in the AI field in recent years. Google DeepMind built the first program, AlphaGo, which beat a professional Go player. Most of the largest corporations such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook are releasing artificial intelligence programs to the users. This technology is already being used in applications such as Google to improve search and by Wikipedia in identification of articles that have been damaged or are inaccurate.

 

Since this technology is becoming easier to access, we can all expect to see more web developers using it in their work. For instance, you can expect to get an artificial intelligent web designer that will ask you about colors, branding, content and layout and it will give you a website. The machine will be learning as it does thing for a better implementation in future.

Virtual Reality (VR)

When you answer the question what is the future of web development in 2017, you can expect that virtual reality will crop up somewhere in your conversation. This is a trend that has already started taking over the gaming world and is expected to spread to other industries. Large companies such as Mozilla and Google are already working on APIs that will help in the transition of virtual reality technology to the web. According to the momentum of this technology and the trends that we have already witnessed, we can expect that VR will get into more industries and be used in more applications. You can expect to see VR in news coverage and real estate tours in the near future.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things is a technology that involved the connection of non-internet connected things such that they can send and receive information. These things can be kettles, toasters, blenders and sensors in concrete to detect cracks. While web developers might not be directly connected to developing this technology, they will very much be involved in developing applications that help in their operations. They will also be involved in the analysis and display of data collected from these devices. There are companies that have already started working on APIs that will be used by web developers in communicating with these internet of things devices. Though this technology is expected to be on the rise this year, there is a growing concern about security. It is clear that web developers will have to face a number of challenges especially in protecting these devices from hackers.

Rails 5

Rails 5 is the newest Rails version and was released mid 2016. This version is still young but is expected to gain a lot of popularity in 2017. Web developers are already excited by the new additions that came with the new Rails 5. These include Turbo 5 which allows developers to create Single page like applications right from the Rails stack. It allows links to fetch the full HTML pages and replace the body without the client-side JavaScript frameworks. There is also ActionCable which is a new way of using websockets in rails aimed at the creation of real-time apps. This addition has made the creation of chat and notification features easy while still giving access to all the resources of ActiveRecords. Rails 5 has also merged the rails_api into its database. This means that a developer can create API only apps in Rails and hook them to native or JavaScipt frameworks.

Angular 2

In 2016, there was a release of Angular 2. This release was accompanied by a lot of changes such as the redesign of Google’s Frontend JavaScript framework. After this release, Angular announced that there will be a regular release that will be scheduled. According to their statement, they will be releasing 3 minor updates and a major updated once every six months. This means that 2017 web developers can expect a lot of changes from this widely used framework.

Yarn Package Manager

Package managers have become incredibly popular especially for fronted JavaScript communities. These tools have increasingly made things easy for developers especially in the installation, updates and configuration when dealing with app development. Bower and NPM are the most popular package managers in JavaScript. However, Facebook has developed a new package manager working together with Google, Tilde and Exponent.  We can expect this trend to continue this year. Yarn is aimed at addressing the problems that Facebook has been facing with other packages such as NPM especially in matters related to security, consistency and performance.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators can develop a website from plaintext. The text is stored in files as opposed to databases. The use of static generators has advantages such as speed, security and deployment ease. The problem is that they do not have user content like comments and these are a must today. While this technology might find its way in 2017, it might not carry as much weight as expected.

What is the Future of Web development in 2017 – Conclusion

There are obviously a lot of web development trends that will be witnessed in 2017 and beyond. If you are in development, you need to keep your eyes wide open because some of these trends will play a major part in your work. For now, we just have to wait and change as changes come.

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