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Your Website Got Hacked . . . Now What?

hacked website

There are few worse feelings in business than going to your website only to find it suspended due to malware or a cyber-attack. You start to wonder, “Did I do something to cause this?”, “Why was my website hacked anyway?”, and “How can I get my site back up as quickly as possible?” The answer to this is simpler than you might believe, cyber criminals and hackers do not discriminate. You have data . . . data is valuable . . . they want cash.

Website security is a necessity for its health but most importantly, security is important because it creates trust for both your user and major search engines. A website that crashes due to malware attacks can cause the hacked website to become ‘blacklisted’ – meaning, search engines will not show the site in searches as not to infect users.

So what should you do if your website falls victim to hacking? Well, follow these steps and they should get your website back up-and-running in no time.

5 Steps for getting your hacked site back online after malicious infection attempt

  1. Run an anti-virus scan on your computer – Sometimes, hackers get into websites thru a hack on a local machine. Once allowed access into your machine, the hacker can watch your activity, gain access to passcodes and gather other vital security information. Before you do anything to fix the attack on your website, run an anti-virus scan on your local machine to make sure it is clean and safe to use.
  2. Change all passwords on all accounts– The next thing you will want to do is change all passcodes associated with your website account. This will mean CMS (content management system) template passwords, FTP passwords, and cpanel passwords (if your server has access to a cpanel). If your site is down due to a hacked system, you can reach out to server support. They can assist you with whitelisting your IP so you can make the necessary changes and perform the necessary cleaning. As mentioned in step 1, hackers get access to your site by stealing password information, by changing passwords; you remove their access to the site.
  3. Upgrade CMS Template to newest version– The next step is to upgrade the software for CMS template you are using for your website (*Note, if you do not use CMS, then you can skip this step). Each update executed for CMS platforms provides a security plug or patch that is necessary in order to keep your website secure. Keeping your template updated regularly can provide insurance that your site remains relatively healthy and safe. Performing regular updates is not a guarantee against hacking. However, keeping the CMS updated means there is one less hole in the template script for hackers to exploit. When updating, make sure to upgrade all plugins and themes as well.
  4. Clean out the website ­– Now comes the hard part, making sure your hacked website is completely clean. While some code might be easy to locate and remove, hacks can be quite intricate. Depending on how long a cyber-criminal had access to your site, code may be deeply buried within the core structure of your site. You’ll need to make sure to go thru it with a fine tooth comb. If you are unfamiliar with complex code, there are services and companies – including Andromeda Technology Solutions – that will assist you with this task. Once all malicious code is removed, you will need to submit the site for inspection with your server technicians.
  5. Resubmit site to search engines and increase website firewall security – Once your site is clear of vulnerabilities or malicious code, you still need to do two things:
    1. Resubmit your site to search engines if it is blacklisted – If search engines blacklisted your site, the only way to get your site viewable and searchable again is to go to the major search engines and let them know your site is clear and all hacked materials and code have been patched and/or removed. This can take a couple of days . . . be prepared.
    2. Increase the firewall prevention on your site. Once a site has been hacked, it can be slightly easier for it to become infected again. We know you don’t want that. One way to prevent a repeat attack is by increasing your website firewall. Having a proxy server that manages who and what can visit your site definitely helps. The proxy server provides an extra level of protection and deters cyber-criminal activity. Hackers and cyber bullies want to go after the lowest hanging fruit. A proxy server and beefed up firewall preventions make your site more difficult to tackle.

Seems like a lot, right? Well, don’t worry. Andromeda is here to help.

We pride ourselves in protecting clients against all kinds of threats from cyber bullies.

If website security is an area you know needs attention in your organization, fill out the form below for a promotional coupon good thru July 15th on Advanced Website Firewall and Monitoring. This service utilizes proxy servers as described above to protect your site. Additionally, our continued monitoring platform scans your site every 12 hours to ensure it is clean and clear. Rest easy at night knowing Andromeda has your back both on and off the web.

Fill Out This Form For Your Promotional Coupon Good For 2 Free Months of Advanced Website Firewall & Monitoring Services from Andromeda Technology Solutions

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4 Reasons WordPress Is The Better Choice For Your Professional Website

wordpress content management system web design and development

Times, they are a-changin. When the internet first came ”online” (pun intended) over 20 years ago – websites were a luxury for most businesses. Now in 2017 – they are a necessity. With the world wide web at your fingertips (literally), it’s more important than ever to have a website as a marketing tool for your growing business. With all the choices available – it may be tempting to build a website yourself with proprietary website groups like Wix. However, using for-profit website builders can be costly and have a negative impact on your website down the line. For businesses that truly want a professional website that meets all best practices – traditional based content management systems (cms) like WordPress are the way to go. Let’s dive into a few reasons why:

Reasons To Choose WordPress over Wix

  1. Ads – One of the biggest selling points for proprietary sites is that they are less expensive. Which is great if you are on a budget; however, the less you pay the less you control what content displays on your website. Proprietary sites make revenue on their cheaper packages by allowing advertisements to display on your website. Do you really want your website designer or template creator choosing what ads display on your site? Do you want ads on your site at all? WordPress gives you the control over what content displays on your site. Make sure before engaging in any design for a website, you cover protocol and expectations for ads and content control.
  2. Customization/add-ons – Customization can be pricey. When you purchase a base package or template from a source like Wix, you run the risk of costly add ons adding up (pun intended). Most out-of-the-box templates on Wix do not support ecommerce or SEO. This means add ons need to be purchased in order for your basic functionality. Additionally, you only have access to two levels of pages. This can jeopardize your entire site if mishandled. These templates are also difficult to change. Most companies will not allow you to customize the base template. WordPress on the other hand allows for customization, add ons and SEO. It also plays very well with thousands of plug ins that add nifty functions and unique flare to your site.
  3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)– As stated in the previous point, SEO is not included with most Wix or other proprietary sites unless you pay extra each month. Much of SEO is about keywords and URL selection. With WordPress – you have the ability to customize urls as you see fit. Additionally, there are free SEO plugins that allow you to dive even further into analytics/SEO without incurring additional cost.
  4. Ownership – This is the most important reason to go with WordPress over a Wix site. With proprietary sites – you don’t actually own your domain or your website. The company you purchase from owns all of that. if you want to start something new or change platforms – your domain and your website is the property of Wix. With WordPress – you own your own domain and you own your content. This will allow you to make changes and updates to your overall look and digital marketing as you see fit. It is yours!

Overall, while Wix and other companies like it offer a quick, cheap way to get a website for your business, the cheapest route is rarely going to get you where you want to be. Choosing a cms site like WordPress allows you creativity, ownership, optimization and plug-in-play action you need. Andromeda has had years of experience working with and customizing WordPress websites. Ready to take your business to the next level? Give us a call!

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3 Reasons You’re NOT Showing Up On Google’s First Page . . . And How Search Engine Optimization Can Help

Let’s face it – if you are trying to market your business at all – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google needs to be your best friend.  The only way that happens is to have your website appear on Page 1 of relevant searches.  With attention spans growing shorter than a Midwest day in December, even Page 2 is too little too late.

So, why aren’t you showing up on page 1?  Here are 3 reasons as well as some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) quick changes you can implement to increase those rankings.

Three Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Faux Pas and How To Fix Them

  1. Your site has too much in one place . . .

You are trying to be all things to all people and your site is just too general.  Search engine optimization (SEO) rule number 1: specifics drive traffic.  So, consider adding more pages to your site tailored to the content you want people to see.  In some cases, you might even want to dedicate an entire new site (called a microsite) to a specific topic with a specific domain name to further drive the point (and traffic).

  1. You aren’t paying attention to popular search terms and phrases . . .

If your site’s content is not in-line with what people are actually searching for, you are missing traffic.  Might be time to do a little market research. Try asking clients what they did to find you. If they used a search engine (most people do), what did they type in specifically? You might be surprised what patterns emerge when you start compiling this data. Once you’ve done this, refresh your content with these results in mind.

  1. Performance and load time matter . . .

If your site is not mobile friendly or it loads slowly, Google and your visitors will penalize you. Make sure the theme or design you choose for your website is responsive (meaning it will change to fit whatever screen it is on – smartphone, monitor, tablet etc.) In terms of load time, customers and google both dislike a slow site. While there are sites out there that give ‘free’ reports on speed and spam ratings, most of the information is very technical and you have to pay to get the extended reports.

Most likely, one of the above items alone isn’t enough to ruin your ratings but it doesn’t take long before things start adding up. Maintaining your site can turn into a full time job before you know it. If you are like most business owners, you don’t have the time to constantly dig into these issues. Lucky for you Andromeda can help. Our team of dedicated designers and website engineers can help you with web design, website development and maintenance, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Reach out and find out more about how we can help YOU with your search engine rankings!

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6 Reasons Your Website Development Is Never Truly Finished

ats website development and design upkeep and maintenance

What most don’t realize about website development and design is that your website is your biggest brand ambassador, 24 hours 365 days per year.  It works tirelessly to market your company, constantly finding new clients and educating your existing ones. It is arguably the most public facing and most visible part of your company.  Your website is your brand, culture and marketing rolled up into one neat little ball.

When you are sleeping, it is working.

OK, I think you get the picture.  Website development and maintenance is critical and needs almost constant attention in one way or another.  Whether it is new content, taking down old stale information or just updating pictures – there is always something to do.

Start talking about Search Engine Marketing (SEO) or paid advertising (SEM) and you just added another level of critical web marketing development that constantly need updating.

With that, here are 6 reasons your website development is never truly finished:

Six Website Development Items To Keep Updated

1) Current & Up-to-Date Testimonials/Reviews Are a Must

Remember that client success story you were so proud of 10 years ago?  Well, they went out of business and your prospective client now knows this success story doesn’t really reflect your company today.

2) Images Must Reflect Industry And Product Standards

Woah! – is that a white CRT monitor in the picture of your office.  If you actually still have that monitor, please call us to talk IT – but since you probably don’t – might be time to update the picture.

3) Products Come And Go

No, you don’t sell the XL3000 anymore, but those 10 pages talking about it are driving people to your site, you are attracting valuable customers with the wrong message. Now you disappointed them because you don’t carry the product you want and you are missing out on the clients you do want because you aren’t updating your content.

4) Trends and Aesthetics As Well As Functionality Change Constantly

In the fast paced online marketing world we live in – website trends change every 2-3 years and that 4 year old site really starts looking like that 1986 Saturn.  Now, nothing wrong with the Saturn – great cars, but you probably aren’t going to have people flocking over to check the Saturn out . . . you catch my drift.

5) Search Engines and Bots Reward Change/New Content

Search engines don’t reward sites with old, stale info and they start noticing that people aren’t really visiting your site anymore.  So, you are left wondering why your inbound sales leads are down and that is a vicious circle with a bad ending.  Time to refresh.

6) First Impressions Matter

And, the #1 reason your website is never finished . . . You are trying to grow your business and make more money . . . frankly, your website is the first place people go to check you out – long before they have talked to a single person at your company.  It needs to be current and relevant – always make it a priority.

Keep a look out next month for more web development and SEO content – 3 Reasons You’re NOT Showing Up On Google’s First Page . . . And What To Do About It