Project Spotlight

ipoint6_port

This week, we are proud to highlight an exciting website redesign project that we just finished with Connecting Signs. Connecting signs is a graphics company that excels in vehicle wraps and signage projects including indoor or outdoor business signs, ADA signs, custom trade show displays, banner or any other sign needs that your business has. Connecting Signs offers in house graphic design, installations, service and maintenance on all projects too.

Connecting Signs came to iPoint in November with an idea about how they wanted a new website to look. They were concerned that their website needed to be updated, they wanted more traffic to the site, and they wanted to de-clutter the pages to make the site easier for users. iPoint heard their concerns and started working with Connecting Signs on a new site.

Process for a new client:

  1. Free Initial Consultation – iPoint wants to make sure that we understand exactly what each client is looking for in a new website. This helps us be able to come up with an estimate that is tailored to your wants and needs.
  2. Clear Estimate – iPoint is committed to giving our customers an estimate that is easy to read, and understand. There are no surprise costs when working with us, and we want that to be clear when we give you an estimate.
  3. Initial Layout Meeting – This is an opportunity for our clients to meet the web developer who will be designing their website. Both the client and the developer can discuss the vision for the site, and make decisions about how the site should look.
  4. Dedicated Project Management – iPoint is committed to concentrating on the highest quality for each project with full management over the team and project.

After talking, we decided on the various features we wanted to include in the website:

  • The home page slider has a preview of the picture before and after the one you are currently viewing.
  • The products page has icons for each of the different options for ways that you can work with Connecting Signs.
  • The blog highlights and features some of the amazing projects that Connecting Signs is producing and includes a comprehensive image gallery.

Please check out the new website at www.connectingsigns.com and let us know what you think!

What is a firewall, and why do I need one?

FirewallPronounced fire+wall, the dictionary definition is, “a part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication.” It is essentially a security system that will control all incoming and outgoing network traffic based on a set of rules. And, if your PC is connect to the internet, you need it.

A PC connected to the internet is a potential target for a multitude of cyber threats, such as hackers, keyloggers, and Trojans that attack through security holes that are unpatched. Additionally, if you shop or bank online, you are vulnerable to these threats, as well as identity theft and other malicious attacks.

What does a firewall do?

A firewall limits access to computers and to the network, and it can also be used to access a network through a private, secure authentication certificates and logins. You can program them however you’d like in order to identify what you want to get out and what you want to get in. Everything beyond that is not allowed. A firewall can be either a hardware firewall or a software firewall, and the most secure firewall will come from a configuration of both.

Essentially, a firewall works as a barrier between your PC and cyber space. When you are on your PC, you are sending and receiving information in packets. A firewall will filter these packets to see if they meet the criteria that you’ve set up, and based on that criteria, it blocks or allows the content through to your PC. By doing this, hackers can’t get inside your PC to steal information like passwords, bank account information or business data from you.

Why should I use one?

  1. Firewalls can be configured to prevent employees from sending certain types of email or transmitting sensitive data outside of the network.
  2. Firewalls can prevent employees from perusing certain websites like social media networks.
  3. Firewalls prevent outside computers from accessing computer information inside the network.
  4. Protection from malware, malicious software and damage causing corruptive files to be transmitted onto your computer.
  5. Good firewalls include a feature that updates a list of known malicious and okay applications, making your computer protection continuously up to date.
  6. A good firewall can also make your PC invisible to hackers when you are online.

In conclusion, a firewall is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to your business or personal computer because it will keep your personal information private and keep your PC safe from viruses and malware. If you are curious about which firewall is right for you, please give us a call!

Tips to Avoid Hacking

Hacking. When we think of hacking, we often think of governments or large companies, because why would someone want to hack you? Unfortunately, hacking happens to governments and ordinary people alike. There is no 100% defense against hacking, however that are ways that you can minimize your vulnerability. If you are a small business owner, with a website and business accounts that you manage online, use these tips below to mitigate your risk. Avoid being hacked

Tip 1: Strong passwords

And, we’re not just talking one really strong password that you use for all of your accounts either. You need separate passwords for each account that you hold, and they all need to be strong. This way, if one of your accounts gets hacked, the rest of your information in the other accounts isn’t vulnerable too.

The biggest push back to this solution: it’s tough to remember passwords, let alone strong ones, and for each account? It seems daunting, but password management software tools can be a great way to keep all of your passwords in order. A password generator can also be a great tool to create a password that doesn’t have ties to who you are, which makes it harder to hack.

Tip 2: Two-Part Authentication

We all have several devices (I.E. work computer, laptop and mobile device) that we are logging onto to check our email, update our website, and manage bank accounts. These different log in’s make you especially vulnerable to hackers.

Now many websites are moving toward a two-step verification process. This means that you need more than one password to be able to log into the account. It goes something like this: you go to your Google account, put in your log in credentials, and then a screen will open asking to send a verification code to your phone. The verification code ensures even if someone stole your password they wouldn’t be able to log into your account.

Tip 3: Change Your Behavior

It’s hard to admit, but many of us go without updating our software, we browse openly on the internet, and we share everything on social media. Each of these habits make us a more vulnerable to hackers.

  • Updating software is easy to do and fixes any loop holes hackers have found. It’s a simple way to keep hackers out.
  • Using private browsing tabs makes our search history a little less out in the open. It’s harder to follow the trail of where you’ve been in a private browsing search.
  • Finally, I know that social media is a great place to share with friends and family. However, sharing everything leaves a nice timeline of your habits, your personal information, pictures of yourself, etc. Continue to share, but try to share less.

Moving forward with these tips does take time and money, but it is well worth the investment to mitigate having your personal information hacked. If hacking is something you’re concerned about, and you’d like to know more, please give us a call 970-266-0703.

Custom Website Better for SEO

custom website - SEO

Who doesn’t like free? Free is great! But what are you actually getting for free? You get what you pay for, and with a free site builder, that saying could not be truer. If you are a business owner and thinking about whether to skimp on a website or to spend the money, listed below are the benefits of spending some money on a custom website.

  • Your custom site will rank well in search engines.

Custom websites are designed to be search engine friendly, and because of this, will climb further in the search ranking than a common free site will. Search engines will rank a site higher the more people click on your site and link to it. For every day that you have a generic free site, your competitor who built a custom site will continue to gain a higher rank because their site will be clicked on more frequently. Essentially, it is better to choose the custom site from the get go in order to capture your audience.

  • Ability to manipulate your site.

There are online marketing techniques that require the ability to manipulate a website. Unfortunately, with a free site, a SEO specialist will not be able to perform many of those techniques. A custom site allows an SEO specialist to be able to manipulate the site, to update it with ease and to change tactics quickly if needed.

  • Quality and the consumer perception.

Let’s face it, it is easy to tell a free website from a custom website. A free website conveys poor quality, and consumers tend to correlate a poor quality website with poor quality product. A poor website encourages people to get off of the site and look for another, which is bad for search engine rankings. With a professional website, you can show customers that you are serious about your business, and care about the quality of their experience. This is likely to make people stay on your site for a longer period of time, which is great for search engine rankings.

Overall, a custom site design is tailored to your businesses branding and lets your unique style shine through. It helps to build brand recognition and works to gain the trust of your customer base by giving them a seamless transition from the website to the store to the product. Not to mention, a custom site will allow your site to soar to the top of the search rankings, helping customers find you. While it might be a large upfront cost, the benefits of building a custom site will pay off in the end.