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Category: Techy Stuff

Are the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present Haunting your Google Analytics?

Are the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present Haunting your Google Analytics?

ghost-spam
If you’re in charge of your company’s Google Analytics reports, then you may or may not have heard about ghost spam. If you’ve heard of it, and are currently battling it – we salute you.

Ghost spam hijacks your Google Analytics ID (ex: UA-XXXXXXX-XX) and plops a fake visit in your analytics report. These visits don’t interact with your site at all, however, they bypass your site by requests of HTTP interactions to Google’s servers saying they did. This is why it’s called “Ghost Spam.”

This spam hikes up your site visits – which can totally make your day until you realize it’s all fake. Corrupt analytics data doesn’t help anyone, especially if you’re making important business decisions based on this information.

Where Can It Be Found?
Ghost spam typically presents itself as “referral spam” which can be found in the “Acquisition/Overview/Referrals” section in Google Analytics:

112916_ghost-spam_referral

In early November, companies started seeing a new kind of spam showing up in their “Language” panel:

112916_ghost-spam_language

Why Does Ghost Spam Exist?
Spammers try to target analytics managers through their reports to either get their attention for a specific service, spread malicious code, or simply to brag. If you’re trying to figure out what a suspicious URL is, you may be tempted to click on it. Once that happens, a spammer could be receiving a commission. That’s probably the last thing we want to do. Instead, perform a search for that URL or phrase. More than likely someone has already written about it.

You also don’t want to infect your computer if that link has malicious code. If you insist on clicking the link, I suggest you double-check that your antivirus program is updated and running.

Get Rid of the Spam
Thankfully you can clean up your analytics through filtering. Our buddies at Ohow.com have provided very useful step-by-step instructions via their Ultimate Guide: How to Get Rid of the Spam and Other Junk Traffic in Google Analytics. If you’re seeing the language spam in your analytics, hit up Analytics-Toolkit.com for their article on Language Spam – The Latest Google Analytics Spam.

Remember that bad data = bad decisions. We recommend using one of the guides above to help you clean house before you’re visited by the Ghost Spam of Christmas Future! If you need help, give us a call at (915) 351-8440.

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.

6 reasons to avoid WYSIWYG Web Development

6 reasons to avoid WYSIWYG Web Development

If you have spent time on any kind of social media lately, you probably haven’t escaped the overwhelming push of WYSIWYG website development. Now I’m not referring to reputable content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla; but rather, the site building applications such as Wix, Weebly and Webs that claim to be cheap, fun, easy, zero programming experience required, and drag n’ drop enabled (of course).

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Mostly because it’s cheap! But the truth is it’s quite different. Here a few reasons why you are better off investing in a quality website.

1. No foreign company logos
Contrary to popular belief, free doesn’t always mean what we would like it to. “Free” packages from site builders usually include their logo scattered across your website. Not only does this take the attention off your company but it also adds a non-professional vibe to your brand.

2. Ultra Custom pages
Need a web page that showcases a sweet banner slideshow and the latest stock prices? Anything is possible! Except when using site builders. You will be strictly limited with the tools needed to create the perfect webby goodness to make your work stand out against competitors.

3. Easy to use tools are not so easy
Drag n’ drop sounds so wonderful, and it really can be for actions such as bulk uploads. What it’s not great for? Content placement. Dragging a picture turns into a wrestling match. Let the CSS experts help you with that.

4. You don’t know if your website is secure
Now, I’m not saying these site builder websites are prone to vulnerabilities. But the truth is, unless you can speak to someone who can fill you in on exactly what security measures are implemented – you’ll never know where your site stands when it comes to security.

5. Getting noticed shouldn’t be left to chance
Search Engine Optimization is tricky stuff, but crucial when it comes to shutting out competitors. Trusting automatically generated SEO tactics will just not do. Leave it to the experts to research and develop the best strategies for increasing traffic of your site.

6. Customers care about the usability of your website
We’re not all tech savvy in this world and that is okay. But if there is one thing that will get noticed on a website immediately, that is the level of usability. If a customer is fighting to navigate through subpages, they are more likely to shut you out and turn to a competitor. Remember, no one is sitting in front of them – rejecting a website is easier and faster than rejecting a human. Make your website grip your customer’s attention in a positive way.

There you have it, just a couple reasons why site builders are not all they’re cracked out to be. Leave the complicated web stuff to us nerds and your investment will reward you in the end. Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or fill out the contact form on our site!

Sara Acevedo
Sara is a Web Developer at Stanton Street, an El Paso, Texas area website development company.

Contact Sara at (915) 351-8440.

How Safe Are Your Passwords?

How Safe Are Your Passwords?

Everyday we have to remember what feels like 100 passwords for work, school, and personal stuff. Keeping it all straight, making it easy to remember, and secure against hackers is definitely not an easy feat. Frustrated does not even begin to describe how I feel every time I have to reset my password using security questions.  First let’s go over some password, under no circumstance should you do these, rules.

  1. Never include your name, last name, DOB, or the name of your company
  2. Use another number sequence than 1,2,3,4
  3. Shorter than four characters
  4.  Using the actual word, password
  5. Using any word found in the dictionary

Now that we have a better idea of what a bad password looks like, let’s tackle the makings of a great, not good password. As I mentioned previously using words found in the dictionary are not secure, but you can replace letters with symbols to make the password stronger. For example: p@$$w0rd ( I’m aware I just broke rule number 4, but for the purposes of this blog we will go with that). Below are some other recommendations for making your password secure.

  1. Avoid capitalizing the first letter of your password, instead opt for rotating back and forth between capital and lowercase
  2. Use at least 8 characters
  3. Try using symbols like @, %,!,# to add complexity to your password
  4. This can be a place where you can also utilize anagrams

Be creative with your passwords you don’t want to be the low hanging fruit when things start to get hairy. Avoid writing passwords down but if you absolutely must, make sure that you are storing them in a safe place. Avoid writing things like my GMAIL password is….. try developing anagrams for those things as well. Happy Passwording!

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.