Developing Strong Passwords | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform

Developing Strong Passwords

Developing Strong Passwords | Nathan Ives | Digital Products PlatformStrong passwords are a cornerstone of cyber security.  In the case of your digital products platform, strong administrator passwords not only protect your website from malicious intrusions but also protect stored customer data and your intellectual property.  Therefore, special consideration should be given to the development of your administrator passwords.

Characteristics of Strong Passwords

Research shows that a combination of characteristics help ensure passwords are ‘unhackable.’  Your passwords should:

  • Be a minimum of 12 characters
  • Include numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters
  • Not be an obvious sequence of letters, numbers, or symbols
  • Not be a word or word combination
  • Not use obvious substitutes such as swapping typically upper and lower case letters

Additionally, you should have a unique password for each important account.

Tips for Developing Strong Passwords

Three methods for developing strong passwords include:

  • Mnemonics: Develop a password using from the first letter of each word and the numbers associated with a somewhat random sentence such as “In 1892, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered America!” becomes I1892CstobadA! (14 characters, 4 numbers, 1 symbol, 6 lower case letters, and 3 upper case letters)  Note that mnemonic passwords tend to be the easiest to remember.
  • Discarded Products: Develop a password using the serial numbers or UPC symbols from two or more common products that you consume and discard such as soda cans, stock paper, etcetera.
  • Random Password Generators: Use a reputable password generating service to develop your strong password.

Final Thoughts…

Password security starts with the design of your password and continues with its own security.  Keep your passwords secure by keeping them offline (documented on paper) and in a secure/locked location.  Additionally, change your passwords routinely to further minimize the chance of your digital products platforms becoming compromised.

Engagement After the Bounce | Digital Products Platform | Nathan Ives

Engagement After the Bounce: Getting Visitors Back to Your Website After They Leave

Engagement After the Bounce | Digital Products Platform | Nathan IvesVisitors leave your website for a host of reasons.  But the fact that they opened one or more webpages indicates interest in your content.  Additionally, their visit means you now have better access to these people.  The question is how to reengage these individuals who, because of their interest, are more likely to engage with you than those others surfing the web.

Exit Popups

One highly effective method for reengaging those departing your website is a popup offering an additional value piece, a lead magnet, in exchange for the visitor’s name and email address.  Such popups appear when the visitor attempts to leave your website (mouse off of the webpage, close the webpage or tab, or click a link to leave the site), hence the name exit pop.

Regardless of the lead magnet, those signing-up should be entered into an email autoresponder sequence to fully reengage them with your website.

Branded Popups on Linked Sites

Providing links to other websites offers visitors additional value but takes them off your site.  StartAFire is a free link shortening service that places a popup at the bottom of the linked page.  This popup is fully branded with your favicon and website name; providing attractive, graphic links to two of your website’s pages.  Consequently, these popups seek to reengage those who have already expressed interest in the content on your website.

Push Notifications

A staple of smartphone engagement, push notifications are now available with some browser limitations on desktop and laptop computers.  PushCrew is an initially free service that enables push notifications to be sent to those who authorize such messaging via a popup appearing at the top center of the webpage they visited.  Like email newsletter signups, who better to reengage than those whose chose to receive additional outreach from you.

How to Make a Logo with a Transparent Background | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform

How to Make a Logo with a Transparent Background

How to Make a Logo with a Transparent Background | Nathan Ives | Digital Products PlatformContemporary websites often employ full page background images, videos, or colors.  As such, your logo needs to have a transparent background so to not interrupt the field.

Graphic artists commonly create logos with transparent backgrounds.  Indeed, such formatting provides maximum flexibility for the logo’s use.  But if you are developing a logo on your own, how do you create one with a transparent background?

The easiest way we’ve identified to create a logo with a transparent background is as follows:

  1. Create your logo (letters, words, symbols, shapes, or some combination thereof) in Microsoft PowerPoint on a plain white background (default) slide. Do not incorporate a background into your logo.
  2. Open your photo editor, I use Microsoft Digital Image Suite, and create a ‘new’ photo canvas. The blank canvas in your photo editor should serve as the transparent background for your logo.
  3. Copy the logo from PowerPoint and paste it onto the blank photo canvas in your photo editor.
  4. Crop the logo photo; leaving a 10-20 pixel buffer on each side.
  5. Save the logo image as a .png file. (Saving the image as a .jpg file will cause it to have a solid white background.)

If you need different color schemes for your logo to accommodate light and dark backgrounds, duplicate the logo in PowerPoint, change the element color combinations, and repeat Steps 2 – 5 above.  This process yields identical logos possessing different color schemes.

Final Thought…

Whether or not you intend to legally register your logo as a trademark, I recommend affixing the trademark symbol, TM, to your logo.  Doing this publicly communicates your intention to use the logo as your trademark.  Such annotation aids in the protection of your logo even if it is not registered.

Of course, you need to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else’s logo before trademarking yours. (See Business Name Considerations)

How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online | Nathan Ives | Digital Business

Three Keys to a Good Online Reputation

Headlines today are filled with cell phone videos of bad behavior, verbal attacks in the twitter-verse, and disturbing incidents of cyberbullying. In our everyday lives, disgruntled customers or employees tarnish reputations of local businesses or past employers and jobs are lost or never offered because of inappropriate social media sharing. Business owners who want to have better control of their reputation online should follow these three key pieces of advice:

How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online | Nathan Ives | Digital Business1. Build your reputational firewall

Build your online firewall. If your business could be hijacked by negative reviews and online attacks, then you need to ensure that you regularly publish your positive news and build a legacy of positive internet results. It’s tougher for negative information to take center stage in the future if there’s already a lot of positive information anchoring top search results.

Stake your claim to your name. This is really basic stuff but it merits repeating. In a crisis, it is important for your customers and the public to be able to hear your news as directly as possible from the source. Your company should have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page if for no other reason than it verifies your company’s identity and authenticates your news.

Address negative info. If there’s negative information about your company posted online, you have to react in some way. Review sites generally enable companies to respond to comments, both positive and negative. Take advantage of this option. Damaging content can be removed in some cases, but simply allowing negative information to remain unchecked is typically not a good strategy.

2. Get a handle on online review sites

Review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and Glassdoor are growing in both popularity and authority with search engines. The more companies participate on the sites, the bigger the sites become and authority grows. The impact is building. As one review site executive said to me: “The genie is out of the bottle.” Review sites are here, they are dominating search results, and they can’t be ignored.

Claim or create your company page on the main review sites. Your company may not yet have a listing on a site like Yelp, but any customer or interested party could create one without your knowledge and certainly without your consent. Business owners should look at the main review sites and either claim their page if one has already been created or create their own listing – this will give you a small level of control.

Build out your review site listings. Across the board, executives from review sites recommend completing profiles and adding information to business listings. Up-to-date photos, videos and descriptions increase page views as well as interest from prospective customers or employees. Plain listings without images look stale as customers on review sites are typically interested in getting current information.

Engagement. Likely the biggest trend in online reviews centers on engagement. Interaction between businesses and their customers helps build the overall sense of community, and executives from review sites universally advocate for responding to both positive and negative reviews.

Don’t try to fix “crazy.” When speaking with one executive who has had tremendous success with Yelp, he mentioned that they have some very simple rules. His company will bend over backwards for his customers, but “we don’t do crazy.” Sometimes customers have outrageous expectations, and every business owner has dealt with clients who may not be “all there in the head.”

3. In case of emergency, know your options

When confronted with negative online content that hinders your business or damages your reputation, the best advice is to remain calm and make a sound assessment. While the first reaction may be to blast away at the hate blog, defamatory post, negative news article, or nasty review, we have found that it makes more sense to slow down and develop a strategy before confronting the source.

Negotiate removal. Most websites are run by legitimate businesses that have no interest in publishing false, tasteless or potentially defamatory content. Of course, some sites are run by neurotic bloggers, but the vast majority have sensible human beings at the controls. If you are dealing with negative web postings or negative articles posted on a corporate site or corporate message board, it may be possible to negotiate removal.

Suppress, push-down or bury. When you research online reputation management companies, you quickly learn that they offer a distinct service known in the industry as “suppression.” They will create new, benign web content with the hopes of pushing down or suppressing negative search results. This tactic can be very effective, but it isn’t always the best solution, or the most economical

The idea is that you flood the Internet with positive content about you or your company and work to push down, bury, or “suppress,” the negative content. Information is not removed from search results but rather pushed farther down the search result pages to a point where fewer people will see it.

Remove it using the Covert Ops of reputation management. One of the Internet’s big secrets is that digital is not necessarily forever. The common belief is that once something is posted online, it will stay there forever. Many people endure a feeling of helplessness at this thought, but options exist. Content can actually be removed from search results and sometimes entirely from cyberspace. There are folks who can make things disappear from search results. It’s a fairly exclusive thing and exactly how it works I can’t explain, but we have been able to get stories and posts completely removed from search results These tactics are not the same thing as suppression, which pushes negative information further down the search results. I’m talking about either removing or hiding negative content.

More information about protecting your online reputation is available in How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online (Career Press, October 2016).


About the Author

John P. DavidFor more than 25 years, John P. David has counseled businesses and executives on strategic communications and marketing issues. He has developed a specialty helping clients facing online attacks because, sadly, anyone can publish negative information online, seemingly without consequences. His strategic communications firm, David PR Group, counsels clients in the areas of marketing, reputation management, and public relations. He frequently writes about communications and strategy on The Huffington Post. Follow him at @JohnPDavid.

Free Creative Commons Zero Licensed and Public Domain Images | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform

Free Creative Commons Zero Licensed and Public Domain Images

Free Creative Commons Zero Licensed and Public Domain Images | Nathan Ives | Digital Products PlatformOwning and maintaining a high quality website can be an expensive endeavor.  Today’s high expectations demand fast loading speeds and attractive graphics.  But an attractive website doesn’t have to be expensive.  There are numerous free image resources available to add imagery and a splash of color to your website.

Creative Commons Zero Licensed Images

Creative Commons Zero licensing means that the creator of image or graphic deeded the work to the public domain and waived his/her rights to the work under copyright laws.  Consequently, you many copy, modify, distribute, and use the image or graphic for free – even for commercial purposes.  (Learn more about Creative Commons licensing at CreativeCommons.org)

Numerous websites feature high-quality, high-resolution Creative Commons Zero licensed images and graphics.  These stunning images and graphics can be used to bring your website, ebooks, training courses, or any other digital work to life.  Here are thirteen sources of Creative Commons Zero licensed images and graphics:

Public Domain Images

Photos taken by officers or employees of the United States government as part of their official duties are generally not subject to copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, or display unless the image falls under an exception.  (Learn more at USA.gov)  Expansive libraries of United States government photos reside on Flickr as well as other images released under Creative Commons Zero licensing by the owner.

Depending on your needs, you may want to search for photos having other Creative Commons licenses (various restrictions apply) on Flickr.

Final Thought…

Whenever obtaining photos from online sources, be sure to confirm the website and individual photo’s licensing terms before use.  It’s your responsibility to honor copyright and licensing terms when using others’ works just as it is their responsibility to honor yours.