Password Protection Tips: How to Protect Your Investments from Online Threats

Security, Web Wise, Website Tips

Regardless if you run a business or organization, you will no doubt have a slew of passwords to gain access to various online platforms. If you’re a client of ours, you will typically have several depending on your situation and services purchased. 

For example, one login is needed for the secure client billing and account area, where you can see what services are active, purchase additional services, view invoices and pay invoices etc.. Another login may be to access your website’s CMS [ Content Management System ] so you can make updates to the website’s content to keep it fresh and updated. Another login will be used for your domain email if you have business email services active with us.  

Now imagine if you handed those logins to a hacker with mischievous intents. They could do some damage very quickly, such as defacing your website, changing all passwords so you no longer have access, sending spam email, and more resulting in a temporary suspension for all services until resolved. A costly headache for sure.  

Strong passwords [ How to create a strong password ] serve as a main line of defense for Northwoods Web Designs customers and their various login accounts.  So why are strong passwords recommended? 

Because cybercriminals have a variety of tools and techniques at their disposal to crack passwords, including the following. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid falling victim to these tactics as provided below.

Keyloggers: One of the most effective tools cybercriminals employ is keylogger malware, which records what you type and sends this information back to them. Because keylogging can be used to directly steal passwords, the best way to address it is to avoid infection with such malware in the first place. Keep your system (pc & phone) up to date with security patches, use antivirus and antimalware programs, and don’t click on suspicious links that appear in emails or pop-ups.

Password dumps: Security breaches provide potential attackers with a treasure-trove of data including user IDs, passwords, birthdates and even Social Security numbers. To minimize your risk, never reuse old passwords or share them between different accounts, and change your passwords annually or when required by Ascension.

Brute force attacks: An inelegant but effective password cracking technique involves attempting to log onto an account with a list of commonly used passwords, such as 123456 and p@ssword, which unfortunately are still used by some today. For accounts that will lock users out after multiple failed attempts, cybercriminals use a tactic called password spraying, which involves spreading out their guessing attempts over a longer period of time to avoid detection. 

Complex, long passwords remain the best way to thwart such attempts. Attackers start with common passwords and phrases such as password123 or iloveyou, so avoid these as part of your passwords. Northwoods Web Designs recommends passwords that are at least eight characters in length and contain three of the following whenever possible: upper- and lower-case characters, numbers and special characters such as ! or %. 

Password resets: Another way cybercriminals bypass passwords is using the forgot password feature. To ward against this tactic, keep your account recovery information up to date. Use only confidential information as the response to security questions an account asks you to answer, avoiding information that might appear on social media sites such as your dog’s name or your favorite hobby. 

By understanding the tactics used by cybercriminals will help showcase how important it is to use strong passwords and be aware of what you may be clicking on when on your computer or phone, to assure your passwords are secure and your investments are safe. 

Have you ever been compromised before? We would like to hear your story, let us know in the comments section below.

How to Increase Purchase Conversion Rate to Buy Your Products – eCommerce Store

Web Wise, Website Tips

Launching a website to sell products is an exciting time for any business. Especially a new business. You have a product, or products, you know is great, many have told you so, and now you want to open it up to the world.

So ideally you contact us to provide you a professional turn-key eCommerce site that puts you in the right direction.

But one of the first things that new businesses find out when launching a website to sell products is that sometimes its hard to get folks to buy the products, that you know is great.

Just because you have a great product and suburb designed website, like the ones we build, there are still many factors that play into the purchasing decision of the visitors.

Even if your sales are pretty decent, it comes to a point where you view the website analytics (which we provide with our Web Care Services Plans ), and would like to increase the conversion rate.

What do you mean conversion rate? 

Let me explain. Say in a period of a month, your website analytics shows you had 200 visitors, but you know you only had 10 customer purchases. In short this translates into you having about 190 folks that visited your site and decided not to make a purchase.

Which all honestly, that may be fine, as some may be landing on the site just wanting to know more, and are now shopping around. Eventually they may come back. Or it could be competitors checking the site with never an intent to purchase.  So take the numbers with a grain of salt.

You want to increase this conversion rate (who wouldn’t), but how?

We have compiled our tips we have provided in the past and include them below for free (some folks will charge for this marketing consultation).  So try these suggestions one at a time to validate what is working, and what doesn’t. Or implement all of them to get the most out of your eCommerce sales.

  • Make Sure You are Leveraging Sale Prices
    • Many eCommerce sites, like the ones we build, provide functionality so you can add a regular price and a sales price. Make sure to leverage them.
    • Consumers like feeling like they are getting a savings, regardless if they actually are. Its called consumer optics.
  • Temporary Decrease the Price of Product(s)
    • Competition/pricing play a major role in successfully selling like products on the market.
    • For testing pricing conditions, you can drop the prices by 25% for a period of one month and see if there is a change.
    • If you see sales increase, you may have found that your normal price is a price that folks are not willing to pay for the product.
    • One trick, is to reduce your product to fit in that price range. If your price that was not selling including 10 items, change the product to only include 7 and keep it at the 25% reduced price that seemed to sell.
  • Entice Folks with Coupon Functionality (price discounts)
    • Everybody likes surprise discounts
    • We can build in the coupon functionality into any site, where a gentle (one-time per visit) pop-up occurs either having them email for a coupon, or presenting the coupon immediately, forcing them to continue to purchase to save money.
    • Keep the pop-ups minimal, and keep in mind, many folks are utilizing mobile devices so it must be done well, and don’t aggravate the visitor with additional pop-ups, scroll things or other things. The website should sell itself as is (if built by Northwoods Web Designs).
  • Promote the Darn Thing
    • This isn’t a baseball field, just because you build it, does not guarantee they will come.
    • Want more free marketing advice? Make sure check out the Official Social media Platform Checklist for Best SEO & ROI of your eCommerce Site.
    • If your selling food products, get out and go to trade shows or the like that are related to the products you sale.
    • Get your business card out there, get the word, many of the biggest sites on the internet started from local word of mouth which drove sales online and eventually spread.

Hopefully these tips and suggestions will prove useful. If there are any additional ones you think should be added, please leave a comment.

Official Social Media Platform Checklist for SEO ROI

Website Tips

After launching a new website you thought your were done right? Unfortunately this is not the year 2000 and the internet and competition has evolved. Last check, there was over 600 million websites competing to be in top searches.

Think of a website as a pretty nice house to look at and use. But its currently missing a driveway, some nice trees, landscaping and maybe garage and of course maintenance like painting or staining the deck. Are those all necessary, well not really, but without them its not as useful or nice of a house to look at and utilize.

With that analogy, we need to bring up the landscaping and maintenance to keep the house humming nicely along. The following list of items should be ongoing tasks to make sure your website has more curb appeal to the major search engines so they continually rank you higher then others, with less curb appeal.

Good thing is, most of these items are free. It only takes a little elbow grease to get a good ROI in your Search Engine Optimization investment.

  • Update your blog (you have a blog right?) on your website at least monthly. Recommended is weekly.
  • Review / Update your website pages at least quarterly to keep them fresh, (i.e. new staff member? updated services? change of wording to keep it fresh)
    • TIP. There are content writers that specialize in crafting awesome content. Sometimes if your not sure what to write, using there services could be of great value.
  • Update your Social Media Platforms at least monthly. Although weekly is recommended
    • Facebook: Provide short excerpt of a blog and link back to your blog post
    • Twitter: Provide even shorter excerpt and link back to your blog (or other page on your website)
    • YouTube: If you have products or services, take a video and post it to your YouTube channel, then of course share the link on your other platforms
    • LinkedIn: This is the professional social media platform, great use when looking for employees and to promote your business
    • Instagram & Pinterest: Use one or both, but simply put, submit some nice pictures of your products or services offered with a short description 20 words or less.
  • Update online business directories to assure they are using your correct phone number, company hours, address and of course website URL is listed. These are more of the popular ones. You may have to register, but for each one you update, it gives you a free link back to your website. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Obtain inbound links from other websites that are credible. If you work with a vendor or 3rd party where your services end up benefiting them or mutually beneficial, ask if they would like to link to your website or even a blog post from there site.

As you can see, optimizing your website isn’t easy or quick, or a one time thing. But doing these will put your website in the forefront of all others who decided to skip over these tips.

Are there any tips or items that I am missing? Would love to build upon this one for all the small business and non-profits out there that could really use some help in this arena.


Advantages of Mobile Website Optimization

Website Tips


If you look around you will see nearly everybody with a smartphone such as a Android or iPhone. According to recent study by Pew Research Center report nearly two-thirds of Americans now one which they use to access the Internet on a regularly basis for viewing websites.

In order to provide an optimum experience for all these folks, websites need to be mobile friendly to ensure that the website is optimized for smartphone display.

There are a number of advantages, besides not losing out on business, when you have an mobile friendly optimized site that should help convince you of the need.

Faster Download Speed

Mobile websites are designed (coded) specifically for mobile standards and optimal download speed, which means less waiting and more browsing your services or products.

Improved User Experience

Nobody wants to browser a desktop website on their mobile phone. In fact Google will rank your website lower in search results if it is not mobile friendly. According to  mobile website usability , it proves mobile-optimized websites improve user experience and satisfaction which is important as we all know how important first impressions are.

Better Engagement

A mobile website is geared to show optimum call to actions such as click-to-call to improve user engagement.

Improved Search/SEO performance

A mobile website provides improved rankings on mobile-friendly search engines such as Google and Bing, and also allows placement in a growing number of mobile and local directories just for being mobile-friendly.


A mobile website can be accessed from anywhere. No longer is your website limited to laptops or desktops. This provides the ability for your website to be accessed by more people more often.

Competitive Advantage

If you website doesn’t look good on a mobile display users will typically opt out quickly and move on to one that does. Get the competitive edge by making sure your website is mobile friendly.

More Flexible and Cost-Effective Than App Development

There is no need to have a custom app build for Android, iPhone or other mobile phone platforms to showcase your services and products. A well mobile friendly optimized site is all you need and will provide the usability needed for a small display. Showing only key items so the user can take action on them quickly.

Really Don’t Have a Choice Anymore

**Updated** Now more then 52% of website traffic is accessed via a mobile phone

From the latest statistics, more then 50% of website traffic is accessed via a mobile phone.  So unless you don’t care about the 50% of the population accessing your website effectively, its not really an option like it was years ago.  The world changes, and this is a big one when it comes to online website development. Northwoods Web Designs builds all new websites with Responsive Web Design in mind.

Thinking About Developing a Mobile Website?

If you’d like to learn more about developing a mobile-friendly website for your organization, simply let us know by contacting us for a free consult. We’ll be happy to learn more about your needs and offer recommendations.

As you can see, optimizing your website to assure its mobile friendly not only has a ton of advantages, but its no longer a choice to not do it.


Responsive Web Design (RWD) – The Mobile Friendly Website Fundamentals

Web Wise, Website Tips

Mobile devices have been around for a while, but they were never used in a way (and to such a degree) as they are today. Surfing the web with these mobile devices has grown at a stellar pace, and for the first time will outnumber desktops and laptops starting this year. And most sites on the web are not optimized for these smaller screens.

Responsive web design, also known as mobile friendly design, assures that the website is responsive to any display size and adjusts accordingly to assure optimum viewing for any device.  For example, take our site ( Northwoods Web Designs ) shown below in different devices,  is designed with responsive in mind.

Responsive Web Designs


Similar to a chameleon per se, it will adjust the layout, navigation and content of what is displayed based on the size of the screen to assure the best viewing experience regardless of screen size.

To account for these smaller screens,

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