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Tips For Staying Safe While Shopping Online

Tips For Staying Safe While Shopping Online

Domain Names

Shopping online is fast and super convenient for a lot of people with busy lives . You are able to easily shop for items from the comfort of your home while in your pajamas  sipping a cup of your favorite coffee. If you are a frequently buying things online you might has been burned a couple of times by the seller or company that you are purchasing from. It’s unfortunate and a real pain to finally get it worked out. I have narrowed down some tips and ideas to help you stay safe online while purchasing your favorite items.

Familiar Sites Are Key: When shopping online make sure that site you are using is something you are familiar with. Those ads on the right side of your Facebook page look enticing because the prices are good but do we really know who they are or where they are from? Do your research. Also, make sure that site you are looking for is spelled correctly and has the correct suffix. For example if you know the site you are looking for is a .com but you are taken to the .net site that is a clear indication that you are not on the correct page.

Keep Some Things Private: There is no online store that is going to ask you for your social security number. Never give out your social security number. Some sites will ask you for your birthday to sign you up for newsletters but that is up to your discretion to sign up for that or not.

Lock It Up: In a previous article we discussed the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Remember to always look for the icon of a locked padlock usually in the status bar at the top of your web browser. Remember to never give your credit card information over email.

Look At Your Statements Online: Don’t wait until your statement comes in the mail it might be too late by then. Log in to your account regularly and make sure they have been no fraudulent charges. In the event that you do find something suspicious. Banks usually give you 30 days to notify them,but make sure you address the issue quickly.

Don’t Use Public Computers: Using public computers to purchase items is a really bad idea. However, if you absolutely must make sure that you sign out when you are done. Also, be very aware of your surroundings things such as people standing or sitting a little too close for comfort.

Online shopping isn’t as scary as you think. If you are careful and follow your statements and purchases closely you have a really good shot at catching something right when it happens. Keep this tips in mind and have a safe online experience.

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Let’s figure it out, together

Let’s figure it out, together

Technology terms are always changing, but what about the evergreen terms that you may or may not know? Just in case you were afraid to ask we have you covered, take a scroll down our list and put yourself to the test.

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Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

A Headline Is Worth A Thousand Clicks

A Headline Is Worth A Thousand Clicks

Social Media Connecting Blog Communication Content Concept

The year is 2015 and every man, woman, child and dog with a laptop, smartphone, and tablet has a blog. I sift through hundreds of blogs daily ranging in subjects. People so often have the same question, how can I make my blog stand out against the backdrop of humdrum bloggyness? The answer may be easier than you thought.

  • HEADLINES,  start with a great headline. You know as well as I do that they can make or break an article. We gravitate towards headlines that catch our attention and leave us hanging. Your headline is just as important as the content of your blog. DO NOT however, compromise the credibility and integrity of your blog by over exaggerating or lying in your headline to get more clicks.
  • Word Count: Living in the information age we are processing so much information daily that we don’t even have the attention span to sit through more than 300-500 words. We often skim reading material in order to find the answers that we are looking for. Keeping your blog posts within that range will avoid clicking on and then immediately clicking off the page. Also when writing your blog remember to style it in easy to read chunks will also keep the attention of readers. Try separating into paragraphs and breaking it up with bulleted lists ( like this one) or bolding words you think are important and should stand out.
  • Pictures, Filters, Videos, all of the above. Blog sites like Tumblr are picture heavy for a reason. Keeping with that people are more likely to skim than read, pictures will make up for the words that you are leaving out. If you are doing a blog about dogs people will want to see pictures of your dog in Valencia and X-Pro II dressed up as Donald Trump for Halloween.  Pictures add some fun to even the most serious of blogs, and you don’t need a professional camera to do it. Any smartphone with a decent camera will do the trick.
  • Write with purpose, no matter what you are writing about. Always, always, always have passion and purpose behind what you put in front of your readers. They will see right through gimmicks and posts that you put out that are only for Google ranks.
  • Tags, SEO, and links. If you are confused by what any of those three mean, don’t fret. I will break it down for you. Tags are words or phrases that you will add on to your blog to let the reader know quickly what the post is about. Keep the tags relevant to what your post is about. These are usually hyperlinked and displayed under the headline of your post. SEO is short for search engine optimization, in a nutshell this means how quickly people are able to find your post organically on the web. Installing an SEO plugin on your blog or filling out the one at the bottom at the page when creating a blog is vital to how people will find your blog. Links, you never want to leave your reader with questions. When adding links to your blog make sure that the reader never leaves your page and when they click their desired link that it opens a new page. There are different plugins for any theme  you can install these on your blog to make the links look pretty and not just a URL.

 

Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Social Media Managing – When Should You Be Posting?

Social Media Managing – When Should You Be Posting?

colored social network buttons.

Social Media isn’t just for lurking your exes and old college buddies, it’s a huge part of how most of us get our information in real time. You need to keep the content on your blog and social media pages fresh and up to date. You can do things such as scheduling posts on all social platforms to keep your business in the forefront of your customers mind.  Scheduling posts is a great tool to use so it takes the “remembering to post” out of the equation. The big question is, when do I post and how often?

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Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Check, Refresh, Repeat

Check, Refresh, Repeat

Group of friends of different ethnics sitting on the street and looking at mobile phone - Young modern hipster people having fun with new technologies - Multiracial group representing the addiction to technology

The world around us is moving at warp speed. We are connected to everyone we’ve ever met in our lives via Facebook, we are watching news unfold in real time on Twitter, watching our friends at music festivals on Snapchat, and examining the lunch selections of people nearby on Instagram. We panic and freak out when we spend even 5 minutes away from our phones, laptops, and tablets. I understand that this is the “age of information” but I have to wonder, what would happen if we didn’t panic? What would you do with your 5 minutes?

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Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

5 Social Media Terms of 2015 You Must Know

5 Social Media Terms of 2015 You Must Know

It feels like everyday there is a new techie term that we know nothing about. Some of these terms become so popular and useful that they make it all the way to Merriam-Webster. I’ve broken down some terms you might not know the meaning to.  Read on and impress your kids, coworkers, and friends with your new found knowledge. 

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Eileen Lozano
Eileen Lozano is an Office Manager/Client Services Assistant at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Eileen Lozano at (915) 351-8440.

Domain Name Registration, DNS & Web Hosting Googlymook

Domain Name Registration, DNS & Web Hosting Googlymook

Many times when we mention the terms DNS, domain name registration or web hosting, potential and existing clients’ eyes glaze over, heart rates increase and beads of sweat well up on their foreheads. Because we care about your comfort and welfare, we’ve rounded up some details to help explain the whole dealio in less stressful terms.

The Domain Name

Stanton Street URL
Example of a domain name

Domain names are part of the URL that is used to identify where your webpage is on the Internet. Each domain name is unique, that’s why it’s one of the first things we ask clients to set up if they don’t have one.

When selecting a domain name, make sure it’s related to your business, memorable and most importantly… available. A quick check on whois.com will reveal what names are up for grabs or not. If a domain name is available, then it’s important to claim it by registering it to your personal or company name.

Registering a Domain Name
Once you’ve selected a domain name and confirmed it is available, you need to register it. Registering it assures that once a customer types in your URL it will take them to your website and not somewhere else!

There are several domain name registrars available who will be more than happy to manage your sparkly new web address. Be sure to explore your options and select a service that is accredited within the country you are located in. Fees vary depending on what company and service package you select.

Once your domain name is selected and registered, it will then be translated into an IP address per the Domain Name System, or DNS. This happens because computers and servers don’t speak human and need to understand commands in order to exchange files. As a result, http://www.stantonstreet.com translates to: 98.129.229.188.

Web Hosting
Web hosting is a necessity because without it, a website wouldn’t exist. This is where all of your website files will be stored and managed. A majority of the time, a web developer can host your website and all of the associated files on their server. Since a website is renting space on a server, providers charge for that space. Those fees go toward server maintenance and updates.

How it All Comes Together
Once your domain name is registered and you have a host in place, a developer will create the site. When the site is finished and launched, it will be accessible through the designated URL which is translated to an IP address. Instead of boring you to tears with the full explanation, let me put this righhhht here:

How DNS Works
Click to view larger image

See? That wasn’t bad. Best part is that we can handle all of this for you! We can feel your stress levels decreasing already. Start the process by filling out our contact form or giving us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Learn More:
Video: DNS Explained
Stanton Street’s Frequently Asked Questions
Domain Name Fumbles Equal Online Troubles

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

Reaching Your Customers with Messaging and Notifications

Reaching Your Customers with Messaging and Notifications

Mobile Notifications & MessagingDo you need to get the word out about an upcoming sale or send out a special message to your customers about your store’s changing hours? Communicating with them is no longer limited to direct mail pieces, phone calls or emails. Utilizing smartphones and updated browser technologies can give you a better, more efficient ways of reaching your audience.

Not sure where to start? There are several ways to keep your users “in the loop.” Before you dive in be sure that the approach you select fits not only with the type of messages you are sending, but with your audience too.

Getting Started
1. Identify Your Industry – If interactions and building relationships are vital to your success, you probably should be connecting with your customers across various touchpoints.

2. Determine the Content – What kind of information will you be sending to your users? Communications with customers should be to be segmented and personalized. If users aren’t interested or if it doesn’t relate to them directly, they’ll delete it or unsubscribe.

3. Evaluate Your Assets – Cultivating a relationship with your customers requires quite an investment of time. Take a quick look at your manpower and resources then determine who will lead this initiative. It will help if this person is great with words and grammar and not intimidated by technology.

4. Identify Your Audience – Do you consider your customers pretty technical? Are they using flip phones or have no mobile phone at all? A little demographic research can go a long way in saving time and effort.

5. Give Users Control – Allow users the control over the frequency, the content and what medium they’d like to be reached through. Also, having pause and/or temporarily unsubscribe features incorporated in your messaging strategy will build brownie points with any customer.

6. How Will You Track Success – How will you know if your messages are reaching your customers? You need a way to track them through analytics or adding code for automated reporting.

7. Follow the Law – If you’re planning on reaching out to customers, be sure it’s within the requirements of the law. If you don’t like fines, then get up to speed with the CAN-SPAM Act.

Delivery Method
Email Notifications
Slightly different than email newsletters, email alerts are quick communications focused on the content the user has requested notifications for. Similar to email newsletters, these alerts are sent through the email address a user has provided via a sign up form.

SMS Texts
SMS text notifications will display as a text message on a user’s registered phone number. These messages are typically relayed through a third-party system which will send out a bulk of text messages.

Rich Media Messaging
Similar to SMS, Rich Media Messaging can incorporate video, images, text and social sharing. These messages are also relayed through a third-party system which will send out the bulk messages.

Mobile Applications with Push Notifications
Mobile applications are downloadable applications for smartphones and compatible mobile devices. Applications can send push notifications to users who have downloaded and installed an app.

Browser with Push Notifications
Technically, notifications can also be programmed into a website to send messages to users who aren’t currently using it via their desktops or mobile devices. Unfortunately this type of messaging still needs tweaking since the notifications don’t work from some browsers. This is because each browser behaves differently and not all users access the web in the same way. Because of this, the code a developer writes may not be understood by all browsers.

In summary, notifications are a great way to reach your customers when they are properly planned and executed. The last thing you want is to lose revenue or customers because you missed the mark. If you’d like to know more about communication strategies for your customers, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Read more about Notifications and Messaging:
5 Key Elements of User-Friendly Notifications – Design Modo
CAN-SPAM Act – Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Notification Design Strategies – UX Booth
Push Mobile Marketing – App Notifications vs. Messaging – MarketingLand

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

Internet Gullibility: Don’t Spread the Dumb!

Internet Gullibility: Don’t Spread the Dumb!

053014_Gullibility_Blog
Alexander Gardner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Being in the biz, I’m on social media sites a lot. I mean A LOT. As a result, I see the whole gamut of hoaxes, scams, “like” bait… you name it. The Internet has given tricksters and scam artists the power to reach millions of people though one click. Unfortunately these posts are being shared by too many – which leads me to the main reason for writing this. I’d like to make an appeal for everyone to stop being gullible and spreading this garbage. Just stop.

I understand you’re overjoyed at Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 being “found” or saddened by the latest celeb demise. I know you really want to help that kid with (insert disease here) with all your “likes” or get free money from Microsoft (yes this is still going around). But really, please take two seconds to double check the facts before you spread the dumb. Most of the time, you can simply review the URL and determine if the story is legitimate. Please know that a site with WordPress or GoDaddy in their URL most likely won’t be dispelling factual or official information.

“Like” Farming
“Like” Farms are scams solely built for Facebook. What happens is someone creates a fake page and starts posting bait (things to get you to interact with posts). When you like something on Facebook, it shows up on your friends’ news feeds. The more likes, the more visible the item is on the platform. Once that page administrator has reached thousands, even millions of likes, they begin to sell ad space or put the page up for sale to the highest bidder.

This scam also includes those silly contests supposedly from Southwest Airlines, Disney Cruises or some other corporation. First, companies are not allowed to host contests on the Facebook platform. Second, if a company chooses to violate Facebook policy, their page will be deleted. Third, it’s easy to duplicate a brand on a social site for personal gain – logo and all. And finally, if these contests link off to a separate page they are possibly exposing your computer to malware and THAT, my friends, is a whole technical can of worms. So no, don’t trust or “like” those links either.

Recently Facebook has been cracking down on “Like” Farms and is discouraging users from sharing the same post repeatedly and ask for “likes,” comments or shares. These are typical behaviors of “Like” Farms and I applaud them for attempting to clean it up.

Fake Stories
Nothing irks me more than fake stories spreading false hope or instilling alertist fears. This includes the so-called “Big Hospital Finally telling the truth about cancer, Johns Hopkins” story and the fear-generating radiation from Japan reaching the U.S. There are heartless individuals out there who play on emotions in order to get visits to their blog. The more visits, the more traffic. This means more ads they can sell and more money they can make at the expense of your well-being. Shaking your head yet?

What Do I Do If I Share The Dumb?
Did you share the dumb? Not sure what to do? Plain and simple: apologize. Then vow to look for a credible source next time, not to believe all memes or posts begging for shares and deny all requests for personal information. Remember, when in doubt – check it out! Here are a few resources to help you weed out the baloney:

Google – Simply search for the story title to see what else pops up to see if it’s legit.
Snopes – Cut and paste the title of the article in the search bar and click GO!
Facecrooks.com – Notifies you of scams, schemes and tricks on your favorite social site.
Urban Legends/About.com – Keep up-to-date with this handy list of the latest phony baloneys.

Phew. Glad I got that out. Now I’m off to kick the lid off more Internet fallacies. Wish me luck!

Have more questions about the dumb? Fill out our contact form and we’ll do our best to give you more tips and resources. You can also give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

Read More:
Social media stole my daughter’s identity
How to Not Publish Baloney
The Only Post You Need To Share When You’ve Fallen For A Facebook Hoax
Facebook Like-Farms Scams Are A Thing
Storyful’s Verification Tech Could Stop Fake News From Spreading on Facebook

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.

Featured Service: Responsive Design & Development

Featured Service: Responsive Design & Development

Simply put, responsive design is a technique used to make a website look great on any size of screen. This means that users on a desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet would be able to view and experience the website in almost the same way. Since a majority of the population consumes online content via various screen sizes, it only makes sense to continue a seamless user experience in every iteration of a website.

Responsive-Design
By Muhammad Rafizeldi (MRafizeldi) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
How Does It Work?

In order for responsive design to work correctly, the site must be broken down in a grid format. Grids help designers visualize how the site will look in various dimensions. These grid foundations also provide the structure for code, telling the site where stopping points are and what size of image or what content formatting to display,

Why Responsive?

Not only does a responsive site give your users a seamless transition from screen to screen, it also saves you money. The standard practice for web developers was to build a full site then a mobile-friendly version. This used to take longer to develop, not to mention the two separate sets of data updates for full and mobile. Now, the industry has embraced the responsive approach. Even Google has stated responsive web design is the best industry practice for search engine optimization, giving the search engine one index to crawl instead of duplicates.

Benefits of Responsive

  • User Experience – A responsive site will automatically resize to fit most screens. This means users won’t get frustrated when their experience with your site won’t change when they view it on a different device.
  • Reach New Audiences – Increase your reach by serving up content that smartphone and tablet users can easily view and interact with.
  • Return on Investment – Businesses save money when only one site would need to be build instead of multiple ones to fit each device.
  • Save Time – Instead of building or managing multiple versions of a site, there would only be one to worry about.
  • Search Engine Optimization – SEO is improved as there is only one instance of a website instead of multiple versions.

Need a “responsive revamp” of your website? Call us know or fill out our contact form to find out more about what Stanton Street can do for you!

Naomi Dhillon
Naomi Dhillon is an Account Executive at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Naomi Dhillon at (915) 351-8440.