Author: Michael Cook

Read all posts from Michael Cook.

Website Security

A Tip for Avoiding Security Disasters

| Security

No amount of planning can prepare you for the first time your site goes down. Whether it gets hacked, or a server crashes, or you just get a blank white screen and have no idea why – your first website disaster will send you into panic mode. Guaranteed. This is when you appreciate having disaster protocol in place, or a web company that’ll help you get back up and running.

There are a million ways a site can break, but there are solutions to all of them. (Or most of them.) Salty Key uses rigorous security measures and real-time backups to counter any disasters that may happen. While we can’t defend against everything, we have a fallback plan in case everything else fails.

We’re also very strict with who gets login access to our site, which leads us to our security tip of the day: limiting access to your site can be the difference in avoiding disaster. It sounds obvious, but consider this finding from PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PwC):

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Google issues penalties for suspicious websites

More Google Penalties for Untrustworthy Sites


Google was busy earlier this week, announcing penalties for sites with “unnatural outbound links” as well as sites with deceptive download buttons.

Neither penalty should come as a surprise to webmasters. Webmasters with suspicious outbound links received notices from Google, saying the search engine would discount any of the distrusted links in its algorithm. A follow-up from Google concluded the penalties were in relation to free product reviews. Specifically, bloggers exchanging backlinks in return for free products, without disclosing that the link was provided in return for the free item (or without adding a nofollow tag to the link).

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Photo of advertising executive

Advertisers have problems, and it’s their own fault

| Advertising

It’s a rough time for marketers in the digital age. Ad-blocking software has resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue, leaving companies struggling to market themselves with radio and print media in steep decline. Even cable TV subscriptions are beginning to nosedive.

Consumers have always resisted advertising. Over 200 million numbers have been registered for the FTC’s do-not-call list to avoid telemarketers (which we’ll discuss later). People will prerecord television programs to skip commercials, and they’d rather listen to Pandora or their iPods than radio ads. People just hate ads.

Consumers also don’t trust advertising. This is especially true of millennials, where a study found that 84% neither like nor trust traditional advertisements.

So how can it be advertisers fault when people are inclined to dislike ads? Advertisers are responsible for driving Internet users to the point of insanity, and every “solution” they propose just makes the relationship worse.

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A photo of a web server CPU.

Why We Switched from Shared Hosting to a VPS

| Web Hosting

The majority of the sites I’ve produced have been on shared hosting plans. In short, a shared hosting plan is where multiple sites are stored on the same server. Every site on that server shares the resource capacity (disk space, bandwidth, etc.) of that server; there’s no cap for how much resource a single account can use. So if a single site on the server consumes of a ton of memory, or gets an insane amount of traffic, the performance of every site on that server will suffer.

Because of their affordability, shared hosting plans are by far the most popular. The price makes shared hosting tempting, but we have a few reasons you may want to consider upgrading to a VPS.

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